Monday, September 20, 2010

Evaluation Part 1

The evaluation of my daughter to find out whether she has a fourth diagnosis (i.e., Autistic Disorder) – Part 1: The parent interview:

1. It would have been nice to not have to worry for an extended period of time while waiting for the appointment to start. The apology for being late was nice, but we could tell you weren’t prepared for us.

2. It is recommended to actually read the file prior to starting an evaluation, especially if you proudly note that you have collected and received the information. Knowing that Quinn is actually a girl, not a boy, would have been a nice touch when it comes to the development of rapport and showing us you actually reviewed the file material.

3. Your reaction to my profession was priceless. Yes, I am a psychologist. We do sometimes have children with special needs after all. Sorry but I don’t think I will be following through with your request for my business card so you can refer to me, for I am not comfortable with that.

4. Knowing the expert on co-occurring disorders of Down syndrome and Autistic Disorder would have been a nice touch, especially given that if you find that my daughter has Autistic Disorder I am going to double-check with this expert. I liked how you tried to be very calm with my words on this subject.

5. Don’t tell me inaccurate information on what has been “found” related to psychological testing. I doubt if there is any research to suggest what you said to me. In our field I know we prefer to give tests individually to the child without the parent in the room, but a tendency towards increased performance under these circumstances is not often the reason.

6. NEVER EVER SAY TO A CLIENT THAT YOU KNOW HOW WE FEEL. If you do indeed have a child with special needs and maybe have a hint of how I might feel, perhaps you should have self-disclosed that. However, given 1-5 above I am thinking that you do not (although I will ask that at the feedback, along with nicely telling you all the above – one psychologist to another). I don’t think you have any idea what it is like to be on the other side of the evaluation. It is actually a blessing and the most education you could possibly receive in the area of psychological evaluation. But this hasn’t been an easy road, for I am an individual who has always performed at the top of her class and then my world changed, I found out that I am an overachiever who is the mother of a child with a disability (DS). I ultimately found out though that DS, and this first diagnosis, was a blessing. It made my world a better place. Then, unfortunately, entered diagnoses 2 (IS) and 3 (Stereotypic Movement Disorder) and the possibly of 4 (Autistic Disorder) and I find with these additional three diagnoses that I only wanted my daughter to have a diagnosis of Down syndrome. I repeatedly feel robbed of the “typical” Down syndrome experience, if there is even one. I don’t think you know how that exactly feels.

But for now, I wait for part 2 of the evaluation and our results and feedback. Then I will speak my mind.