You'll probably first see your child's pediatrician or family doctor, who will likely refer your child to a mental health expert, such as a child psychologist or psychiatrist.
Being well prepared can help you make the most of your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you've noticed in your child, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of any medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that your child is taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to join you and your child for the appointment, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help save time for the things you want to discuss most. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Asperger's syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my child's behavior?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests does my child need?
- Will he or she outgrow this condition?
- What treatments can help?
- Can these treatments cure Asperger's syndrome?
- Are there any specialized programs available to help educate my child regarding social skills?
- What should I tell his or her school?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Would changes in diet help?
- What's the prognosis for my child? Can he or she live a relatively normal life?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Nov. 18, 2010
- What specific behaviors prompted your visit today?
- When did you first notice these symptoms in your child?
- Have these behaviors been continuous, or occasional?
- Does anything seem to improve your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
- When did your child first crawl? Walk? Say his or her first word?
- Does your child have close friends?
- What are some of your child's favorite activities? Is there one that he or she favors?
- Have you noticed a change in his or her level of frustration in social settings?
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- Toth K, et al. Asperger's syndrome: Diagnosis and treatment. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2008;165:958.
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- Asperger syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm?css=print. Accessed Sept 11, 2010.
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- Questions and answers on unapproved chelation products. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/MedicationHealthFraud/ucm229313.htm. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Guastella AJ, et al. Intranasal oxytocin improves emotion recognition for youth with autism spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry. 2010;67:692.
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