ASD Support Basics: Developmental Assessments Part Two

Dr. Fanny Lam details ASD assessment procedures and offers preparation tips for the evaluation.


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Dr. Fanny Wai Fan Lam is a specialist in Developmental-Behavioural Paediatrics with three decades of clinical experience in Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia. Dr. Lam serves as a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the Hong Kong Developmental Paediatrics Centre, Matilda International Hospital, Union Hospital, and Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital.  Dr. Lam is committed to enabling children to reach their potential through parent coaching and early identification and intervention.

How long is the assessment process?  

It varies depending on the case, but typically, it takes around two to three hours to assess a child. The process involves consulting with the child's parents, conducting standardized assessments, and ultimately reaching a conclusion about the child's condition.

In certain cases, school visits may be conducted or teacher questionnaires may be distributed. Following the assessment, referrals may be made to therapists, social workers, or social groups, and medical prescriptions may be provided if necessary. In some instances, further medical investigations may be ordered.

How can parents prepare their child for an assessment to ensure they understand and cooperate throughout the evaluation?

Parents can prepare their children for the assessment by considering the following pointers:

  • Make sure the child has enough sleep, proper nutrition and hydration before the assessment.
  • Avoid emphasizing the visit as a medical appointment or that they're going to see a doctor.
  • Reassure younger children that they'll be engaging in fun activities.
  • Explain to school-aged children that they'll complete tasks to discover their strengths and areas to grow.
  • Having parents or primary caretakers present can be informative and reassuring, allowing the pediatrician to offer real-time feedback and guidance.
  • Individual assessments are often more suitable for school-aged children.
  • Familiarize the child with the assessment process by showing them pictures of the center and the specialist.
  • There's no need for parents to practice drills with their child before the assessment.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor and trust the examiner to set a relaxing tone for your child, as they can pick up on parental anxiety.

How frequently should a child with ASD undergo assessments to track their development and ensure their needs are addressed?

Child development varies in speed and extent, and it’s primarily determined by their age. To ensure accurate assessment, it is recommended to evaluate a child during critical developmental stages. Key developmental milestones to consider include those observed around two years of age, during the second term of K2 (Kindergarten 2), in pre-primary 1, or whenever significant changes, regression, or specific needs become apparent.


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