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Autism Evaluation

Question

Our 8 year old daughter has learning difficulties. Her public school has worked with us each year on Individual Education Programs (IEP) that have resulted in her meeting with speech and occupational therapists while attending regular (not special needs) classes. (1st & 2nd grades)

Each year, she seems to struggle more with her classwork, to the point where her school principal, teacher, and county school case workers have recommended that she receive an evaluation from a psychologist for evaluation and diagnosis.

They suspect that she has certain traits that suggest her possibly being on the autism/Asperger's spectrum. This was suggested because they fear that her abilities (especially in math) will not allow her to participate in the 3rd grade. They have made it quite clear that she will need help which they cannot provide without an accurate diagnosis from a psychologist.

Her older sister has been diagnosed with autism, and we don't doubt or challenge that diagnosis. However, we are concerned about our other daughter receiving a diagnosis based upon her sister actually having autism.

While we need to have an accurate diagnosis of her learning and social issues, and we desperately want her to continue in "regular" school classes, we are concerned that a psychologist may diagnose her with bias (because her sister has autism).

We just joined parentguru, and realize that there may be material that would be helpful for us to read. However, if you could provide some suggestions with regards for her meeting with the psychologist in June, we would greatly appreciate it. Do you have any suggestions in what we can ask for, or signs that we need to look for, in order to have confidence in the psychologist's diagnosis and subsequent actions?

We especially want to avoid any drugs if possible (for ADHD or other conditions). While our beliefs do not prohibit medications, we are concerned with the long-term affects that they may cause, both now and in the future.

Sorry about the length of this question.

Thank you!

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