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Have you ever felt that your physician or school was not taking your concerns seriously? Unfortunately as a nurse and caregiver I have encountered this situation frequently. It is often very frustrating when the issues that you are experiencing are not addressed by a healthcare or school board professional. As tempting as it is to lose your cool- keep calm and get an advocate! You are your child’s best advocate and know your child best. There are also professional advocates that you can obtain to help you and your family though the process.


The first course of action to begin receiving treatment is to get organized. The process may seem overwhelming at first. However, if you complete one task on your list every day, whether it be a Google search, phone call, email or letter to an agency or healthcare provider, you are one step closer to achieving your goal of treatment options.


The next move is to clearly list your concerns. Create a list of the reasons that your child should be evaluated. What is occurring exactly that is concerning to you? Take this list to the physician or nurse practitioner and ask for a referral for an evaluation. If at this point the healthcare provider does not write a referral for an evaluation then get a second opinion from another healthcare professional at a different office.


Another option is to research your local “Approved Evaluation Center”. Every region has evaluation centers that can make or confirm a diagnosis of autism, autistic spectrum, and/or speech delays and develop a treatment plan. Call them and explain your situation. These centers will walk you through the steps of evaluation and will let you know if the evaluation and possible treatment options are covered by your insurance.


If you are experiencing difficulty with the school board, the above evaluation centers can also assist you with the school board process either by communicating directly with your child’s school or by assisting you with a designated patient advocate.


These “evaluation centers” are a terrific source of information and resources! All different types of evaluation centers are available for caregivers- from autism and neurodevelopment to geriatric and Alzheimer’s centers. Many of these centers provide not only diagnoses and therapy, but also put on events and offer support groups.


By reading this post you have now already taken the first step toward empowering your child. As we transition back into the start of school we as caregivers will continue to take an active role in our child’s wellbeing!

Here are some great resources to help you seek an evaluation and find advocacy services:



Kate Vicars-Soloway is a registered nurse that specializes in utilizing innovative technology in order to effectively increase communication, work flow and efficiency within healthcare settings. As a patient advocate, she is dedicated to educating patients and healthcare providers in ways to use technology to improve overall healthcare and increase patient satisfaction.