Current Environment:

How do I tell my child about our appointment with ASAP?

  • It’s best to be honest with your child. Tell them about the appointment when you’re both having a good day. Explain that you’re concerned about their drug use and that this appointment is for an assessment and advice from physicians.
  • If another physician or someone at school has referred you, tell your child that others are concerned as well. Be clear that this appointment is not a form of punishment, but a type of education.
  • If your child feels that you’re “overreacting,” acknowledge that this may be the case and remind them that you want advice from a physician. Explain that if the doctors don’t find a problem, you’ll feel reassured.
  • If your child says they won’t go or won’t talk to a doctor, explain that this is an important health appointment and is not optional. Tell them that you will go to the visit and follow the doctor’s advice without or without them, but that the appointment will be much more beneficial if the doctors have a chance to speak to them as well.
  • If your child says that all of their friends use drugs, tell them that you are concerned about them. Tell them that you are making the appointment because you love and care about them. Say again that this appointment is not a form of punishment.

Be sure to tell your child about the appointment before you go. Teens who aren’t given enough information, or are given incorrect information, may feel tricked. Your child may refuse to participate in a meaningful way if they find out the reason for the visit only after they arrive at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Your arrival

When you arrive at our office, one of our staff at the front desk will verify your personal and insurance information and collect the co-pay for your visit. You will then go into the waiting area until greeted by a member of our staff.

Please bring your insurance card every time you come to Boston Children’s. Our staff will verify your demographic and insurance information at every visit. If your insurance, address, or phone number changes, please contact the office so we can update that information and will know how to contact you if we need to change your appointment.

What to expect during your first appointments

Our diagnostic assessments take place over the course of three appointments, which will be scheduled over a two- to three-week period. During these appointments, you and your child will meet individually with a pediatric clinician and a mental health provider. Each appointment lasts about an hour.

  • Your child will meet with one of our pediatric clinicians and you, their parents or guardians, will meet with one of our mental health clinicians.
  • Your child will then meet with the mental health clinician, and you will meet with the pediatric clinician.
  • Our clinical team will meet to discuss the information we have gathered and will make treatment recommendations.
  • Your family will meet with one of our clinicians to discuss your impressions, treatment recommendations, and options.

As early as the first appointment, our clinicians start counseling patients and their families about substance use. Most adolescents leave the first appointment feeling good about the appointment. Many start to make changes right away.

After your appointments

After your full evaluation is complete, you will receive a summary of our impressions and recommendations. The treatment plan agreed upon at the conclusion of the assessment will begin at Boston Children’s, or if indicated, we will refer you to one of our community providers.

How does ASAP protect children and teens’ confidentiality?

Our medical records are highly protected and not accessible to any individual or agency without specific signed permission from you if your child is under 18, or your child if they are over 18.

Important forms

Completed paperwork can be either emailed or faxed to us directly: 

About the Adolescent Substance Use & Addiction Program

Before your first visit

Authorizing release of medical records

  • authorization for release of medical records information
  • completing authorization for release of medical records information
  • sample release of medical records information

Other information