How to prepare for a diagnostic evaluation

No matter what your child is being evaluated for, it is always best to be prepared for the evaluation. Preparing ahead of time can help ensure that the evaluation runs as smoothly as possible. Here is what you can expect on the day of your child’s diagnostic evaluation as well as a few ways to get ready beforehand.

See a pediatrician 

Prior to the evaluation, make sure your child has had assessments for hearing and vision. Vision and hearing can impact a child’s ability to learn and communicate effectively, and symptoms may mimic characteristics of autism and other developmental disabilities. 

Take notes on behavior 

Take note of the challenging or questionable behavior your child is engaging in. Notes should include when challenging behavior occurs, where, and who was present. Notes should also include the patient’s strengths and weaknesses. You can also write down any questions you have about your child or possible conditions you think they may have based on your research and other evaluations your child has had. 

Gather your child’s information 

Bring all of your child’s medical information and any previous information from other evaluations your child has had as well as notes on your child’s behavior. Putting all these items in a folder is helpful. Do not forget to bring any insurance, identification, and any other items the facility requires. You should discuss and prepare this beforehand. You may also want to prepare questions to ask during the evaluation.

Pack a bag

Diagnostic evaluations can take up to 3 hours for children under the age of 5 and up to 6 hours for older children. It is important to bring diapers and wipes if the child is not potty trained or an extra pair of clothes and underwear.  If the child has a toy or other items he or she prefers or keeps them calm, bring it. Since the evaluation can be lengthy, try to feed your child before the evaluation and bring a snack or bottle to the evaluation with you. It is also a good idea to bring hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves.


You may want to consider bringing a family member or close friend with you to the diagnostic evaluation, if allowed by the facility. This person can take note of what is going on during the session, such as next steps and things you can work on at home with your child. With the permission of the evaluation team and facility, you may be able to video call or record the evaluation for these purposes.