What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that typically appears in early childhood.
Autism Spectrum Disorder largely varies from person to person, however it is characterized overall by difficulties in communication, social interaction, attention and motor functioning, as well as a display of repetitive behaviors or interests.
Some individuals with ASD have an intellectual disability, while others have average or above average intelligence.
Boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
To receive a diagnosis of Autism, a child or adult must display deficits in the following two categories which disrupt social, emotional and cognitive development:
Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests or activities in at least two instances
What does an Autism Test include?
Due to the importance of gathering the best understanding of the child and their needs to provide recommendations, as well as the most accurate diagnosis, assessment appointments will be broken up into multiple detailed sessions, each lasting about 3-5 hours.
The first appointment consists of a detailed background interview of early developmental history, health history and current functioning in areas of social, communication and play.
Each appointment will include behavioral observations.
The following Autism screening assessments will be provided:
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd edition (ADOS-2)
Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R)
In addition, the following psychoeducational assessments are included (IQ, Achievement, Behavior, Adaptive functioning, language, Visual Motor, etc.):
Wechsler Child Intelligence Inventory-5
Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement-4
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-3
Behavioral Assessment Scale for Children-3
Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration-6
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4
Extensive recommendations and empirically validated interventions will be discussed
What treatments are available for autism?
Each individual with ASD presents with a unique set of strengths and needs. The more we understand, the more we are able to assist children with Autism and their families. Significant research supports the importance of early intervention in improving functional development(2,3).
At Heritage, treatments may include: cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral management, play therapy, parent child interaction therapy (PCIT) and family therapy.
Outside recommendations may be provided for social skills group counseling, educational and school based therapies, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), medication management, occupational or physical therapy and speech and language therapy.
As a parent, the signs of ASD may begin appearing around six months of age, but some children do not display symptoms until later. Professional testing can begin as early as 18 months and is considered reliable at much older ages as well(1).
If you are unsure if your child is a candidate for ASD testing, consider the following:
Did your child struggle to reach developmental milestones (speech, crawl, walk) at a typical rate?
Does your child exhibit atypical social behaviors (avoids eye contact, prefers to play alone, does not respond to name or facial expression)?
Does your child display any repetitive habits, fixations or unusual routines?
Does your child have difficulty coordinating body movements?
Does your child display any particular sensory interests or dislikes?
If you are an adult seeking diagnosis for ASD, consider if the following describe you:
Do you often feel you do not fit in with others or feel “different”?
Do you struggle in interpersonal relationships?
Do you have difficulty appropriately participating in conversations?
Do you like things done a specific way or have rigid interests?
Do you find that you need specific instructions to understand what others expect of you?
If you responded yes to many of the above questions, a full Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluation may provide much needed information about several aspects of functioning and help move toward success in the home, at school and in the community.
Please reach out to Heritage Counseling and Consulting at 214-363-2345 if you have any questions regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder testing and scheduling.
Additional information on ASD can be found below:
If you are planning to schedule an ASD assessment, to streamline the interview process, please bring any relevant documentation such as behavioral notes or testing provided by doctors, teachers, and other professionals to be reviewed and included in the report.