What to expect during your visit
Most families come to us because a primary care physician has referred them to the genetics clinic. Depending on your child’s age, before the first visit, talk about it with your child. You can use our Patient Family Education materials as a guide, including this overview on genetic conditions. (Hmong, Somali, and Spanish translations available at link). Show your child a photo of the doctor from our directory. With younger kids, it may also help to draw pictures (stick figures work just fine!).
To help us complete initial paperwork and concentrate on your child’s care, it’s best to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. That way, we can zip through the registration and insurance process (remember to bring your insurance card and co-pay) and concentrate on what’s most important to us—talking with you and taking great care of your child.
We take time to get to know your child
Though it may sound more complex, a visit with a pediatric geneticist or one of our genetic counselors isn’t too different from your average doctor’s visit, although it can be a bit longer. Most first-time visits last about two hours, so be sure to bring along any games, toys, books, or snacks your child may enjoy during that time.
Here’s what else you can expect during your visit:
- Tell us about your family. Before your appointment, we’ll send you a form with questions about your family. You’ll get to know your family tree better than you ever imagined. It may be helpful take the time to talk to family members and obtain medical information about them before your visit. Although some questions may not seem like they pertain to your child, they’re all clues we collect along the way that bring us closer to getting you answers. During the visit one of the genetic counselors will ask more detailed questions about your family and draw out your family tree.
- Step right up. When we start the exam at the visit, we’ll take your child’s height, weight, head circumference, and blood pressure. The doctor will also listen to their heart and perform a physical exam. We don’t do anything that hurts during the appointment.
- May we take your picture? We often ask to take a patient’s photo, which may be used to collaborate with other medical experts or track any changes over time.
- What’s your story? We know you’re here for your child, but DNA links families together. There are times when we may want to know what the parent’s head circumference or other measurements are, too. If we suspect an issue in your child that may impact you or anyone else in your family, we may make recommendations for other family members.
- The road ahead. All of the previous steps help us determine what kind of testing may be most appropriate for your child. Many times, these tests — even a simple blood test — require insurance pre-approval. As a result, we may have to schedule follow-up visits to perform those tests once we’ve received approval from your health insurance company. We know you want answers, and we’ll work as quickly as we can to keep the process moving for you and your family.