Preparing for a Visit
Preparing yourself and your child in advance, can reduce the amount of anxiety and stress your family may experience on the day of your child’s appointment. The information below includes tips that may help make your visit to the Autism Center a little smoother for everyone involved. If you are currently on the waiting list and interested in attending the Waitlist Informational Workshop to learn more about how to prepare for your visit and what you can do for your child while waiting, please CLICK HERE for instructions on how to register for an upcoming session.
Preparing Yourself for Your Visit
- Send required records prior to the initial visit: Fax (832-825-9065) any recent evaluations by the school district (Full and Individual Evaluation-FIE) or other professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech/language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and any medical subspecialty evaluations performed outside of Texas Children's Hospital.
- Allow approximately 2-2 1/2 hours for the first visit: Keep in mind that the visit may be longer depending on the needs of your child.
- Plan for traffic: There is a 15 minute grace period for your appointment, after which you may be rescheduled.
- Cancel within 48 hours: “No show” appointments will not be rescheduled, and emergency situations will be considered on a case by case basis only.
- Parking is free of charge: If our lot is full, you are welcome to park in the City of Houston parking garage right next door and bring your parking ticket to the front desk to receive parking validation.
- Helpful Tips for Caregivers:
- Bring a spouse, partner, or one family member or friend to the visit as a “second set of ears” and for support. Extra family members and/or children will be asked to remain in the waiting area. If you must bring siblings, another adult must be present to supervise them in the waiting area.
- Try to recall as much as you can about your child’s developmental milestones.
- Keep notes of your child’s behaviors in different places and with different people.
- Gather your child’s information and have it ready for the evaluation.
- Write down your questions ahead of time and bring your list to the visit.
Preparing Your Child for a Visit
- Talk to your child about the upcoming visit. Utilize tools such as short videos or “social stories” to help them know what to expect during a clinic visit. Explain to your child that this visit is different from other doctor visits and that the doctors will be mostly be talking and playing with them.
- There are free videos online, and there are also videos that can be purchased through Model Me Kids.
- You can also utilize social stories to familiarize your child with what will happen during the visit. Examples of social stories:
- Familiarize your child with the setting: Take photos of the office prior to your child’s visit to familiarize your child with our office.
- Utilize visual schedules: Create a visual schedule for your child to follow from the time they leave home to the time the visit is over. (For example: CAR-WAITING ROOM-TALK TO DOCTOR- PARK- HOME)
- Practice: Practice what will happen during the visit. You can utilize dolls or medical play sets to help your child know what to expect.
- Stick to your routine: Try to keep to your regular routine as much as possible. Do your best to make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and a good meal before the visit.
- Stay calm: Try to stay calm and avoid rushing to the visit so that your child is not agitated upon arriving for the visit. If something unexpected occurs, use a calm and reassuring voice to explain to your child what is happening.
- Bring distraction items: Let your child pick a favorite item such as a stuffed animal, blanket, or comfort item to bring with them. Snacks may also be helpful for longer visits as well.
- Provide rewards: If possible, arrange for a special reward for your child following the appointment (such as a trip to the park, a special food, extra time to play outside, etc.) This may help your child associate positive rewards with future office visits as well.