Frequently Asked Questions
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Q. My doctor recommended a developmental evaluation for my child. Do you accept my insurance? How do I have my insurance pay for it?
A. We accept almost all insurance for infants and young children under the age of 6, although not all health plans cover this service. If your insurance is an HMO, you will need written authorization from your insurance. If your insurance is a PPO, you need to be referred by your primary care provider. If your health plan does not cover our services, you may self-refer and pay for the evaluation yourself. The psycho-educational evaluations we offer for children ages 6 and older are provided on a fee-for-service basis, as most insurance plans don’t cover these services. If you have any questions, please call 858-966-5817 and speak to one of our support staff members.
Q. What type of children do you evaluate?
A. We evaluate any child for whom there is a concern about development, such as delays in motor or language abilities, social skills and/or behavioral, attention, emotional or learning concerns. We also see children whose histories put them at risk for developmental delays (e.g. prematurity, neglect, prenatal exposure to drugs or family history of autism).
Q. Do you offer developmental evaluations in Spanish?
A. Yes, we have psychologists who are bilingual in Spanish/English.
Q. Is there a wait list for your services?
A. Our wait list varies depending on the type of evaluation and time required. Appointment wait times vary but are typically scheduled within 2-4 months. It is recommended that families call to request an appointment 4 months before the desired appointment date. Parents are encouraged to call as soon as possible and may be able to be seen earlier if they’re willing to travel to one of our satellite locations or if they are willing to be called for a same day appointment.
Q. Why is this appointment longer than a typical doctor’s appointment; what will the psychologist do with my child during the evaluation?
A. A developmental evaluation may be scheduled for a period of two or four hours depending upon the age of the child and the nature of the referral. The psychologist will use this time to initially talk to you about any concerns you have. The psychologist will then ask you questions to learn about your child’s medical, social, and developmental history. You may also be asked to fill out questionnaires about your child’s behavior. Your child will then be given specific developmental tests. The psychologist may test your child’s language skills (such as naming pictures, following simple instructions, and/or answering questions), motor skills (such as crawling, running or jumping), eye-hand coordination abilities (such as building structures with blocks or doing puzzles), social skills (such as observing how your child initiates social interactions or sustains a social conversation), and/or their play skills (such as imitating or engage in imaginative actions with toys). This part of the evaluation may last 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the age of the child.
We understand that 2-4 hours is a long appointment for a young child. We do not expect children to sit still and pay attention for the full time. During initial and final parts of the evaluation process, your child will be provided with time to engage in free play activities on their own. The psychologist will provide your child with toys and activities but please feel free to bring a preferred toy for them to have during these parts of the evaluation. We also encourage you to bring snacks and a lunch for your child as they may be provided with one or more breaks during the evaluation.
The psychologist will then take some time to score the tests and questionnaires. At the end, he/she will talk with you about the results and give you recommendations and referrals.
Q. What should I bring to the evaluation or consult meeting?
A. Bring your knowledge of your child including their medical and developmental history. Bring in copies of any previous evaluations and/or developmental screenings, as well as a list of your questions and/or concerns about documentation of these previous evaluations and/or testing procedures. You are also encouraged to bring in copies of your child’s Individual Education Plans (IEP) and/or a list of concerns reported by your child’s teacher(s). If your child is in the foster care system, it will be beneficial to have placement and family history, as well as information about their early upbringing and developmental milestones (if it is available).
Q. What intervention services will my child need to enhance his/her development?
A. No therapeutic intervention or consultation will be provided during the evaluation. However, your psychologist will talk with you about any recommended intervention services to address your child’s needs.
Q. Does my child “have” to get a diagnosis if we come to DEC?
A. Not every child that has a developmental evaluation will receive a diagnosis. However, your provider will discuss your concerns with you at the evaluation to determine if a diagnosis is appropriate.
Q. What is the appointment structure for school aged children (6 and over)?
A. 1st appointment – Consultation, typically without child, to discuss the child and any concerns for their development (child does not attend this appointment).
2nd appointment – Child and parent attend to complete the evaluation and testing.
3rd appointment – Feedback session, typically without child, to discuss the results of the evaluation and any recommendations.