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Resources for Families

FAQs About the Gender and Sexuality Development Program

Clinical Assessment

Q: What are the goals of an assessment?
A: The possible goals of an assessment are multiple and they vary from child to child and from family to family. Some common goals are to understand the child’s:

  • Cognitive, emotional and social aspects of the child's gender and sexuality development
  • Concomitant mental health problems
And to help the child and his/her family with:
  • Parenting approaches
  • Dealing with siblings, persons outside the family, schools, and/or other social groups
Q: Who participates in the assessment?
A: It is recommended that both parents (if child has two parents) and the child attend the meeting. Typically evaluations take two hours. A team of doctors and therapists lead by Dr. Menvielle conducts the interviews of the parent/s and the child.  Typically parent/s and child are seen together and separate during the time slot, as needed. Occasionally parent/s wish to come to the first appointment by themselves. Although this arrangement is acceptable, it may require a separate appointment with the child to complete the evaluation.  Please give yourself enough time before 1:00 PM to check in and deal with potential administrative glitches (e.g. insurance) that may come up.

Q: How do I prepare my child for the appointment?
A: Some children welcome the idea of meeting someone who can help them with their feelings, in that case the child can be told that he or she will meet a doctor who understands and with whom they can talk privately about their feelings. However, sometimes parents and a young child have not had discussions about it, in which case we recommend that the child be prepared to the appointment by explaining that you (her or his parent/s) are looking for assistance from a specialized doctor to learn how to be parent/s her/him in the best possible way, and that you wish to learn how to help her/him feel good about herself/himself and to fit in with other kids. This example is one useful approach for young children, but different explanations maybe more appropriate depending on age and circumstances. Some children might feel apprehensive about being asked embarrassing questions. In such cases, it is important to reinforce that the appointment is more for the parents/s, and that the child can read a book or play with a toy while the parents see the doctor and that he/she would not have to answer any questions that feel too uncomfortable.

Q: What happens after the initial evaluation?
A: Depending on the assessment we may make a variety of recommendations including no follow up/sporadic follow up (e.g. every 3 or 6 months), follow up sessions to complete a more extended evaluation, parent sessions at various intervals, psychotherapy for the child (e.g. weekly), family therapy, group therapy, support group for the parents and the child, advocacy with schools, etc.. In other words the range of recommendations is broad and individualized.

Possible reasons for follow-up appointments include:

  • Additional time is needed to complete the assessment
  • To monitor the child’s development overtime and update the assessment
  • Therapy for the child and/or for the parents is recommended
  • Other interventions are recommended
Q: Can the doctor refer me to other services, if my child or family needs them?
A: The doctor may be able to refer you to other clinicians or services when appropriate. Common reasons for referrals
  • The family lives too far for ongoing services at Children’s
  • The family needs other services not provided at Children’s
  • The parents need counseling for themselves, as individuals or as a couple
Referrals to other services at Children’s can also be made, as needed.

Q: Can I access services offered through the Children’s Gender and Sexuality Advocacy and Education Program?
A: The Advocacy and Education Program offers a monthly support group for parents and for children as well as an on-line parent support group (electronic list-serves). Families who come to a clinical assessment may benefit from this and other services offered. If so, the doctor will refer you to them.

Q: How to schedule an appointment?
A: Appointments are offered on Tuesdays at 1:00 PM and may last for up to 2 hours. The staff will help you with insurance issues and the The appointment staff person should be able to return calls within 48 hours (working days), if there is a longer delay, please the Department of Outpatient Psychiatry Administrator. If you have not obtain a response within 5 working days, please contact Dr. Menvielle.

Pre-appointment paperwork:
A: It requires that you fill out and mail back clinic forms which must be received back from you before the appointment can be scheduled.  After you mail back the completed form packet, you should get a call within a week from the mailing date, if you do not, please call the appointment staff person.

Confirming appointments:

A: It is advisable to call the staff person to confirm the appointment one day before the appointment. This will insure that if there is any last minute complication you can be re-scheduled without come in personally. Such last minute complications occur rarely, but they can occur.

Cancelling or late for appointments:

A: If you need to cancel the appointment, please notify Clarissa Buabeng 202 476-4172 as soon as possible.  Since typically there is a waiting list, your promptness may allow us to move up the schedule someone else and re-schedule you with less delay. If you are late for the appointment or need to cancel at the last minute, please call the Outpatient Psychiatry clinic’s front desk.

Time and location:

Tuesdays between 1:00 to 3:30 PM. Please allow extra time for parking and check-in.
Outpatient Psychiatry Department, Suite 1200, Children's National Medical Center - Main Hospital, Washington, DC (111 Michigan Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20010)


Program Director:Edgardo Menvielle, MD 202 476-5158
Appointment Staff: Clarissa Buabeng 202 476-4172
Administrator, Department of Outpatient Psychiatry: Mary Samba 202 476-5820
Outpatient Psychiatry front desk: 202 476-2118

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FAQs About the Gender and Sexuality Development Program - Departments & Programs - Children's National Medical Center