This blog is part two (read Autism Evaluations: Part 1) of my rant against pediatricians who do not listen to your concerns about your child AND the California Regional Centers who attempt to pre-screen your child over the phone.
I’ll repeat this statement:
Do not let a regional center turn you away if you have a concern about your child and autism. Do not let them screen your child over the phone! And, do not let your pediatrician blow off your concern. Push your concern, call again, be a pest, do not let it go!
In my previous blog, I discussed pediatricians in more depth, however in this blog, I’ll be discussing the regional center issue.
What about regional centers?
Regional centers (again, this is only for Californians) CANNOT turn you away on the phone! It makes me sick to hear this story, but I’ve heard it more than once. Here it is:
The State of California and its regional center system have a lot less funding than they had in 2004 and they are now attempting to pre-screen your child over the phone.
Can you honestly believe that someone can properly screen your child for autism over the phone? I can’t. This notion is ridiculous and the practice needs to stop immediately.
What can you do?
I don’t necessarily advocate putting too much stock in the Internet, but there are questionnaires out there that can help you explain and even confirm your concerns. But, as our friend told us way back in 2004, don’t rely on the Internet.
If you have a previous autism-related diagnosis, tell that to the regional center.
But, mostly, demand an evaluation. Let them know that YOU KNOW they cannot screen over the phone. Ask to set up the appointment and do not let them tell you no. If they say it’ll take three months, fine, take it. And, ask to be put on the waiting list for a quicker evaluation. If they refuse, ask to talk to a supervisor.
Do we have any other options?
If your child is in a public school, you can also contact your school principal who can help you contact the school district’s special needs department. Every school district has a special needs department. They can help you set up a school district evaluation.
And, again, do not let this go. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong with your child, do not let someone talk you out of it. An evaluation doesn’t hurt anything. The best thing it can do it ease your mind that everything is fine. Or, it can get your child the services he needs.
The worst thing I have heard over the years is too many stories about how people waited and/or denied their gut feeling. Or, the one where the parent gave in. There is an economic climate out there that is forcing the hand of some agencies, but this is your child we’re talking about.
Do not wait! I’ll say it again…Do not wait.
And, do not let anyone stop you from obtaining a proper evaluation for autism. It may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done for you and your child.
To Find Kimberly Kaplan:
www.smashwords.com or Amazon Kindle ebook “A Parents’ Guide to Early Autism Intervention”