The Evaluation Process

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Article first published as The Evaluation Process on Technorati.Brothers with Autism watching sealions at Seaworld.Currently our youngest son is going through the Autism evaluation process. With our oldest, this took months between appointments with a State psychologist. This time around we are going through the school district. The process is basically the same, though the financial impact is less (the school is evaluating our son for free). This is important, as Autism is still not a covered diagnosis for our health insurance in Utah.This last week, on Tuesday (yes, Valentines Day), the school psychologist came out and evaluated our son in preschool. The report they sent back was that his speech is delayed by a year (of which we were well aware). The rest of the findings will continue on to his final evaluation in a couple of weeks. The process seems to be taking a long time for us, though I’m sure the school district is working as quickly as they can. It’s not surprising they are busy, as the current estimates of children with Autism in Utah is 1 in 77 (that’s almost 25%!). That’s a lot of children to get evaluated, tested, and placed in school.Luckily for us, we have gone through this process, and know what to expect. Our first son, though not diagnosed through the school initially, was the real shocker for us. The impact was quite high, sending us through bouts of anger and depression while trying all we could to get our son started on the right path. It’s not something I would want to go through again, and so far this process with our youngest son has had less of an emotional impact.And yet, it seems the school is unwilling to give him the Autism diagnosis, let alone mention the term. Perhaps they are fearful of scaring us with the prospect of having a child on the Spectrum. After all, I’m sure most parents would be devastated when they hear those words. I know we were the first time. But as we already have one child with Autism, it runs through my family (or rather gallops, it seems), we would be more relieved to know that our son is in a program that can best teach to his needs.That being said, I have to say I am very impressed with our school district. They provide this service free of charge to make sure our son is best placed to succeed in his learning experiences. I can’t speak for other school districts, but from the horror stories I have heard from friends of family in other school districts both here in Utah and in other States, our school district is pretty impressive. I’m very grateful these services are provided, and think they should be more wide spread.