Are you on a waitlist for an autism evaluation at the Marcus Autism Center, the Emory Autism Center, or with another psychologist? Has waiting affected your ability to access additional services for your child?
Due to the increased demand for evaluation services, many parents run into the dreaded waitlist issue sooner or later, and it is no less frustrating to encounter more than one–or two–or three. By the sixth time, frustration and fear sets in. Parents wonder if and when their child will get tested, receive their diagnosis, and/or get access to services to improve functioning and help progress in their treatment goals.
There is also the issue of having to sit on a waitlist anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Not to mention having to wait an additional 6-8 weeks to complete your evaluation and receive the report with diagnosis and recommendations. This is a much needed time that your child may miss out on early intervention services. In the meantime, your child may experience ongoing delays in speech, communication, motor development, social skills, and emotion regulation, which can lead to interrupted learning in school. Sometimes, autistic children are asked to leave the academic setting due to dysregulation and needing more support than the school can provide. Parents then resort to homeschooling in order to keep their child from falling behind. For parents, this means more time off work, more financial responsibilities, and an increased need for supportive services for home, school, finances, etc. As such, the earlier families can access interventions, the better!
Common Reasons for Waitlists
There are several reasons why it is challenging to get scheduled:
- Limited professionals trained in autism assessment. Overall, there are a small number of testing psychologists. There is an even smaller number of psychologists trained in understanding autism, the nuances of its presentation and characteristics, and how to evaluate whether someone meets criteria.
- Limited appointment availability within 30 days. This is the crux of the problem with wait lists, as many providers are unable to schedule clients within 30 days of initial contact.
- Lack of clinician responses to client phone calls and email inquiries. For every 5 clinicians you reach out to, you might get 1 response. That means there is a 20% chance that clients will go unanswered in their initial inquiry.
- Lack of online scheduling and appointment transparency. Most practices require clients to email or call them for their availability and to schedule an appointment. When the response rates are low as mentioned above, this decreases the likelihood that clients are being scheduled.
- Insurance and out of network costs. Psychology practices who accept insurance often have long waitlists, as they are inundated with requests for testing. While practices that are out of network may not have waitlists, clients incur the upfront costs of testing and can seek reimbursement later.
When parents are in desperate need of an evaluation and the soonest opening is in 6 months versus 2 years, it makes sense that they would secure their spot on the waitlist, especially if it will get them one step closer to getting their child diagnosed and connected with services. However, there is no need to wait that long!
Evaluations at Magnolia Wellness & Psychology
At Magnolia Wellness & Psychology, not only is there no waitlist, but you also have access to our schedule so that you can see when the next appointment is available and you can schedule your appointment online right then and there! We have trained professionals devoted to inclusive autism assessment who will complete your evaluation in 30 days and provide you with streamlined recommendations to prepare you for what happens next.
Parents meet with their psychologist virtually for an initial intake appointment to gather additional details to help us understand your child, their needs, and your concerns. This also helps us walk you through the testing process, set expectations, and tailor the assessment experience to each individual. Following this, we meet with your child in-person for 2-3 hours to administer their assessments. In a few weeks, parents meet with us again virtually to receive a detailed explanation of their results, their final report, and all supplemental documents including support letters, referral resources, and a superbill for insurance reimbursement.
Our process was designed to reduce the barriers to getting scheduled, provide testing results in a reasonable time frame, and increase your access to support throughout your life. We even offer a complimentary 5-year evaluation follow up! So, go ahead and get off the waitlist and schedule your initial appointment with Magnolia Wellness & Psychology.
Practical Tips For Parents On A Waitlist
In support of our goal to be an active resource for clients, here are four tips and steps you can take while waiting for your autism evaluation:
Though the waitlist is inevitable due to high demand, it doesn’t have to be a barrier. Schedule your initial appointment today with Magnolia Wellness & Psychology and get your results in 30 days!