We welcome any questions about autism and autism diagnosis to help you and your children and build our community.

Question:

How do I know if my child is ready for an inclusion preschool?

Answer: (by Dr. Siegel)

There are two important factors to consider:

  1. If your child’s receptive language (ability to understand spoken language) is not more than 6-9 months behind the average age of kids in the class;
  2. If he sometimes can copy interesting things he sees other kids do,  or things he sees on TV or things—he may have the needed prerequisites.

Children need developmental models they can understand.  If children around them play and talk as they can, they are much more likely to be meaningfully included.

Question:

How long does a diagnostic assessment at ACNC take?

Answer: (by Dr. Siegel)

It depends on the age of the child and the number of records it will be important to review, but generally 4 to 8 hours of clinical time—which translates into 2-4 hours at the clinic on one day—with record reviewing and history-taking going on in one room with child testing going on in the room next door. After an evaluation, we typically spend another 2-3 hours scoring tests and putting everything we have learned into a report with diagnosis and treatment recommendations tailored to your questions and to your child.

Question:

How will you be able to test my child if he can’t even hold still for 5 minutes?

Answer: (by Dr. Siegel)

We used food rewards, stickers, bubbles—all sorts of incentives. Most task are pretty interesting. If your child really is hyperactive or inattentive—a testing session is a good way to find out. We are, in fact, just as interested in ‘how’ your child gets the test done as ‘how he does’ on the test. Almost all the children we see have behaviors that interfere with learning—so seeing how they interfere helps us build a strong plan to change those behaviors.

Question:

What is the schedule on our assessment day? Will there be breaks? Time for snacks? For lunch? Will my child be alone with the examiner?

Answer: (by Dr. Siegel)

We always take breaks as needed, but most often will continue testing after a break (so we can have some idea what happens under the structure of a school day).

When we assess toddlers and preschoolers, we usually ask a parent to be in the assessment room. Since parents do not go to school with children, we usually prefer to test a school-aged child alone, but parents can certainly stay for the beginning of an assessment to make sure their child is settled in.

You can bring snacks to be used as rewards during testing, and also nutritious snacks for a longer break with your child. Between 11:30 and 12:30, if an assessment is not finished, we’ll make time for lunch. You can bring your own (we have a fridge) or go out to nearby quick restaurants of the San Francisco Westfield Mall food court across the street with over 30 restaurants.

Do you have a question to ask? info@acnc.org