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What to Do While Waiting for Your Child’s Diagnosis

You and your child may have to wait up to a year to see the evaluation team.

There are many things you can do during this time to prepare.

Begin by talking to your child’s doctor. Write up a list of questions and concerns

you may have about your child’s physical development, learning, language, or

behavior. Ask about available services and treatments. These might include

speech, occupational, or physical therapy or behavioral health. You may need a

referral from the doctor to have these covered by insurance. If your child is under

3 years of age, you may be directed to the Family Infant Toddler Program for early

intervention. You can find more information on it at the NM Department of

Health’s website.

Learn about developmental delays. There are many books and websites that can

help you understand the differences you are seeing in your child. Research

practical strategies to help your child with their individual development path.

Find support. Family and personal therapy can be immensely helpful at this time.

Being on the same page with your co-parent will make this much easier. Talking

to a trusted person will lower the stress response and mitigate fears. Children can

pick up on our emotions and we want this to be as positive as possible for them

and us. Join parent groups, read blogs, follow and watch videos written by and

with those with developmental delays. Find friends and family members that can

help while you attend appointments. Having someone tending to the children

allows you to tune in to important conversations. Ask someone to take notes so

that you do not have to worry about remembering everything that is discussed.

Keep track. Gather your child’s medical history and evaluations. Note any

behaviors your child may have that concern you. Keeping a notebook or scanning

things into a computer file helps contain and prevent loss of important info.

Make checklists and a timeline to understand how to get started and where to go

from here. These plans will change as you learn more, but they also give you

some sense of control and a reference point. Checklists and visual schedules can

also be effective for helping your child to understand the changes taking place. I

usually put our schedules and lists on a large whiteboard at home and carry a

smaller version in my purse for support while we are out.

Fill out paperwork for waivers your child may be eligible for. The Developmental

Disabilities Waiver (DD Waiver) Medically Fragile Waiver (Traditional Waiver) and

The Supports Waiver (SW) are three of the main waivers available here. Wait

times can be long so it’s best to fill them out as early as possible. Wait times for

therapy can also be long so add your child’s name to the wait list at several


Do not forget playtime. Children learn and grow best in a trusting, loving and

comfortable environment. Follow their lead and join with them in the play they

find interesting. In your research, you will find information on sensory issues and

how to approach them. Try incorporating of few of these ideas at a time during

play. Start with the things that seem most motivating to your child. Some children

find swinging very soothing. Playing in water like a pool or bath can also be very

calming. Teaching children how to swim and about water safety can be

particularly important for this type of disability. Playtime is really the best way for

you and your child to connect and grow the skills needed for a happy future.

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