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Hello. My dh and I have always suspected that Son 3 was ASD. We just never did an eval for many reasons- money being a major factor. Now that he is almost 14, we feel like he needs one at the very least to get out of Selective Sevice registration and for test/college help in a few years. My pedi referred us to a psychologist friend of hers. They never returned my calls/emails. We have had BAD experiences with psychologists in the past so I am hestitant to just pick one.

 

My biggest concern is getting berated for waiting so long, homeschooling him, and basically made to feel like we are horrible parents who have done everything wrong. I cannot take that.

 

I know there are some of you in the Houston area with special kiddos who have good docs and such. Would you please either pm me or respond with who I can trust to give an honest and nonjudgmental eval of my son? We have BCBS med insurance so in-network would be best. We live just south of The Woodlands.

 

I'm not even sure what to ask for. I am getting worried we are running out of time because of his age. 

 

edited for typos.

Edited by Paradox5

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I've had my ds to so many psychs my head spins. You would THINK this would be a super easy thing, but you'd be surprised how challenging it can be. Some psychs are like well I gave you the GARS, whatever it says goes. But when you get in with people who see a LOT of autism, they see it right away. They're just super clued to noticing details. 

 

I think you're more likely to find that *homeschooling* is their buggaboo than his age. Now usually with us they go ok you homeschool but you have him out a lot in social activities. They like to hear that. But I have heard things like avoid this place because the psych is rabidly anti-homeschooling and will blame behaviors on homeschooling, sigh.

 

Ok, another thing. We've had some people on the boards with kind of funky experiences with the ADOS. I just took my ds to an autism school to get the ADOS done by a psych who, it turns out, trains post-doctoral students for a major university program. Like even phd psychs need more training to do the ADOS *well*. Sigh.

 

So I wish I could say yeah, try this and you'll have a great experience, and I can't. Our experience with each psych has been different, that's for sure. I can tell you that you want someone easy to talk with, someone who listens. Usually psychs here return phone calls (unlike that place you called, oy), and just talking with them you start to gauge things. Sometimes a Hoagies Gifted psych will specialize in autism, just because there's a lot of it in the gifted community. That can be a way. Autism schools would be a way. Networking.

 

Technically your ped can diagnose. If all you need is a letter for military, that might be enough. But a psych eval would be good, yes. You'd like to dig in all the way, get some long-term advice about future planning, etc. I hope you find one you like. It's definitely easy to get burnt, totally hear you. But the worst psych we had, well honestly I should have realized he was going to be that way. He was a snow job on the phone, rushing, not listening, and that's how he was in his practice.

 

I'm pretty happy with this psych who works at the autism school, and I thought the ADOS was useful. It would be something to look for as you're considering people. The people who are trained on that and really, really experienced at doing it are just going to have a higher level of analysis than somebody who just hands somebody the GARS or ASRS and walks away. We've done all those forms ad nauseum, but I'm really kind of keen on the ADOS these days. I really thought it gave the psych ways to elicit quickly a lot of behaviors that *we* see that were hard to maybe pinpoint and explain to other people. She came out saying things he did, and I was like YES, that's really how he is.

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I would look at the social thinking site. Find a professional who went to the seminar and contact them for a referral. This is the route I went and the autism coach that was knowledgeable about social thinking was dialed into which professionals were best at diagnosing the condition.

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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Total aside, but the coolest thing is when you go to the Social Thinking workshops and a school has sent their WHOLE TEAM, like all their new teachers. It's honestly amazing. 

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You aren’t running out of time yet. We only had DS19 formally evaluated when he was 17 (but he didn’t need any accommodations for the ACT/SAT).

 

For college academic accommodations you’ll need a psych-educational evaluation. For something like a private dorm room a letter from a medical provider is usually needed.

 

Or at least that’s what we were told and what has worked for DS19.

 

I had no idea, though, that someone with an ASD diagnosis was excused from registering with Selective Service. DS19 registered on schedule. I just assumed if it ever became an issue his diagnosis would *probably* get him deferred.

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You aren’t running out of time yet. We only had DS19 formally evaluated when he was 17 (but he didn’t need any accommodations for the ACT/SAT).

 

For college academic accommodations you’ll need a psych-educational evaluation. For something like a private dorm room a letter from a medical provider is usually needed.

 

Or at least that’s what we were told and what has worked for DS19.

 

I had no idea, though, that someone with an ASD diagnosis was excused from registering with Selective Service. DS19 registered on schedule. I just assumed if it ever became an issue his diagnosis would *probably* get him deferred.

I don't know if it will get him excused. I hope it will get him deferred, if that ever happens.

 

Thank you for the encouragement that it's not too late.

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I've had my ds to so many psychs my head spins. You would THINK this would be a super easy thing, but you'd be surprised how challenging it can be. Some psychs are like well I gave you the GARS, whatever it says goes. But when you get in with people who see a LOT of autism, they see it right away. They're just super clued to noticing details. 

 

I think you're more likely to find that *homeschooling* is their buggaboo than his age. Now usually with us they go ok you homeschool but you have him out a lot in social activities. They like to hear that. But I have heard things like avoid this place because the psych is rabidly anti-homeschooling and will blame behaviors on homeschooling, sigh.

 

Ok, another thing. We've had some people on the boards with kind of funky experiences with the ADOS. I just took my ds to an autism school to get the ADOS done by a psych who, it turns out, trains post-doctoral students for a major university program. Like even phd psychs need more training to do the ADOS *well*. Sigh.

 

So I wish I could say yeah, try this and you'll have a great experience, and I can't. Our experience with each psych has been different, that's for sure. I can tell you that you want someone easy to talk with, someone who listens. Usually psychs here return phone calls (unlike that place you called, oy), and just talking with them you start to gauge things. Sometimes a Hoagies Gifted psych will specialize in autism, just because there's a lot of it in the gifted community. That can be a way. Autism schools would be a way. Networking.

 

Technically your ped can diagnose. If all you need is a letter for military, that might be enough. But a psych eval would be good, yes. You'd like to dig in all the way, get some long-term advice about future planning, etc. I hope you find one you like. It's definitely easy to get burnt, totally hear you. But the worst psych we had, well honestly I should have realized he was going to be that way. He was a snow job on the phone, rushing, not listening, and that's how he was in his practice.

 

I'm pretty happy with this psych who works at the autism school, and I thought the ADOS was useful. It would be something to look for as you're considering people. The people who are trained on that and really, really experienced at doing it are just going to have a higher level of analysis than somebody who just hands somebody the GARS or ASRS and walks away. We've done all those forms ad nauseum, but I'm really kind of keen on the ADOS these days. I really thought it gave the psych ways to elicit quickly a lot of behaviors that *we* see that were hard to maybe pinpoint and explain to other people. She came out saying things he did, and I was like YES, that's really how he is.

Forgive me, but what do all those acronyms mean?

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I took the Autism Speaks quick red flag survey. The only marker my son has/had was complete loss of speech at around age 2. Everything else was/is normal. What kind of eval do I ask for?

 

This is so hard to know who to trust, who to ask. 

Edited by Paradox5

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Wow, he lost his speech at 2? How much speech did he have, and what happened? And what happened to change that? 

 

The easiest thing for considering autism is just to google the DSM5 criteria and go through them yourself. For me the hard part is realizing what the terms mean, like how they actually play out in reality.

 

If you just put those names (ADOS, GARS, etc.) into google, it will pop up what they are. They will literally call it the ADOS and GARS. ADOS is done in an hour with an evaluator, and the better trained the person is, the more informative it will be. The GARS, ASRS, etc. are questionaires you fill out. I've done them till I'm blue in the face, and to me their limitation is how much the person filling it out sees. They might see less due to having less time (co-op teacher who sees them one hour a week, for instance) or they might see less because they just notice less or don't notice those behaviors (on the spectrum themselves, very ADHD, very oblivious, whatever). 

 

So the ADOS can be a really handy tool for homeschoolers because you're cutting through these limitations of what the parents notice, what others are noticing with limited exposures, and you're putting them in with a trained person who is making effort to elicit the behaviors and see what happens. 

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I’ve always found it interesting that her whole life, people (me included) have looked at my daughter and said, “Yep. She’s on the spectrum.†Psychiatrist put it in her chart. It just looks obvious to anyone who is an expert and spends time with her.

Interestingly, she doesn’t get a social pass from strangers. She just comes across as weird.

But you take her for an autism evaluation, and they do the ADOS and the GARS and she passes with flying colors. Like gets a perfect score/ no autism symptoms. The psychologist who examined her at five was FLOORED because here was this clear cut case but she passes all the tests. You look at her and the DSM and it seems like it will be clear cut but she ACES the evals. And the better controlled her anxiety is, the less you see it. So personally I think she’s a smart, very introverted kid with strong interests who has a lot of anxiety and doesn’t give a crap about social conventions but isn’t autistic. She’s like a Victorian caricature of eccentricity.

Edited by Terabith
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The problem with the ADOS is that it's a totally subjective test. My child had 3 of them within a 2 month period as each funding source wanted its own evaluation. As far as I could tell, she performed exactly the same for all 3. Yet all the evaluations conflicted with each other. The private developmental pediatrician said she met criteria for both language and social. The school IEP team said she met criteria for language but not social. The Regional Center psychologist said she met it for social but not language.

 

Now my child *IS* more social than the typical child with ASD so I wasn't surprised by the disagreements over whether she met the criteria in that domain. But the language deficit has always been glaringly obvious. She was turning 3 at the time and still speaking in single words. I don't know how the Regional Center psychologist could've looked at her performance on the ADOS and scored her in the normal range for language. But that's exactly what happened.

 

The ADOS is only as good as the evaluator.

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