Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations
Who Can Diagnose Autism?
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Mental Health, Center for Disease Control, and Autism Speaks, among other professional organizations, recommend a comprehensive evaluation that includes formal diagnostic tools for assessing symptoms of autism such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). A comprehensive evaluation also should include assessment of a child’s cognitive level (thinking skills), social-communication and language level, and adaptive behavior (age-appropriate daily living skills). A recent study in Autism Research found that rapid screening measures, or checklists administered during a short doctor’s visit, have a much greater likelihood of misdiagnosing children who have other developmental disabilities.
What Is Included in a Comprehensive Autism Evaluation?
Our assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) range from age 24 months through adulthood. No single tool should be used as the basis for a diagnosis. Our comprehensive evaluations used a combination of standardized autism measures such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scales – 2nd Edition (CARS-2) in addition to behavioral checklists, interviews, and observations to evaluate developmental and medical history; cognitive abilities and academic achievement; social competence and social perception; emotional and behavioral functioning; communication and language skills; perceptual-motor/visual-spatial ability; and assessment of attention and memory as indicated.
CAPES may also recommend a full medical evaluation to rule out other medical conditions (e.g., hearing loss) or other developmental disabilities that may be causing symptoms. Diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder takes particular care because it often appears very different among individuals, and symptoms often change with development.
Why is a Psychological Evaluation Important?
Comprehensive autism spectrum disorder assessments can help to:
Identify specific strengths and weaknesses unique to each individual
Recommend appropriate interventions to compensate for difficulties
Rule out other difficulties that may be contributing to symptoms
Help obtain appropriate school/college services through special education or Section 504
Gain access to insurance and state benefits and services such as applied behavior analysis (ABA)
Additionally, after a child is diagnosed, it is important to continue with regular assessments to ensure that the individual is making progress with any treatments or services they receive. If a child is not making progress, the treatment plan may need to be revised or additional medical assessments may be needed.
Please contact us for any additional questions or to discuss and schedule an evaluation for you or your child.