Diagnostic Evaluations during the COVID-19 Pandemic

         During the COVID-19 pandemic, as a society, we have had to significantly adjust our everyday lives in order to keep ourselves, those close to us, and others from contracting or spreading the virus. As a parent, it is important for you to be able to get your child the best treatment he or she needs. In order to start the treatment process for autism and other developmental delays, the child has to be diagnosed. Diagnosis typically requires several professionals including pediatricians, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists.  These evaluations often occur in clinic-like settings which can be nerve-racking with everything going on during this pandemic.  However, facilities have enforced several preventative measures to make sure the staff, patients, and their caregivers do not contract or further spread the virus.

Prescreening – Before coming in for your diagnostic evaluation, the facility may call, send a text, or email you a questionnaire asking COVID related questions. These questions may include if you have a fever or other symptoms of the virus or if you have been exposed to the virus. 

Masks – Everyone is required to wear a mask, with the exception of young children required. Many facilities require you to have a mask to enter the facility, but facilities often have extras in case you lose or forget yours at home.

Hand Sanitizer – No-touch hand sanitizer dispensers are often at the entrance of facilities. If not, there are usually hand sanitizer bottles at the entrance and around the facility.

Temperature Check – Facilities have thermometers and check staff daily and patients before entering the facility to check for fevers due to it being one of the most common symptoms of COVID.  Those with fevers may not enter.

Increased Cleaning – Facilities differ, but many require commonly touched surfaces to be sanitized between each patient or by the hour.  The number of items in an office may also be decreased.

Social Distancing – Protocols differ from one facility to the next, but some set time slots, some patients have to wait in their cars while waiting to be seen, facilities may put markers throughout the facility so patients know where to stand or sit to remain 6 feet apart, and extra people are not allowed in the facility.

Virtual Options – Evaluations and other visits can be done virtually which requires no contact with any other people.