Autism Spectrum Disorder is recognized as a disorder of prenatal and postnatal brain development (Dicocco-Bloom, 2006). ASD is made up of several different disorders that include deficits in social behaviors and interactions. The deficits include reduced eye contacts, facial expressions, and body gestures (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). There are currently waiting lists of up to three and a half years for an autism diagnosis in some countries. Long waits can have a significantly negative impact on your child. An early diagnosis is best because early treatment has been shown to improve the autistic person’s skills. Investing in your child’s future through a private diagnosis is worthwhile.
I believe in taking a holistic approach when testing persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Prizant (2012) found that 15-20% of children are misdiagnosed with ASD. It is important to eliminate other syndromes as possible diagnoses. If interested please read:
- Di George Syndrome and Velocardiofacial Syndrome
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Angelman Syndrome
- Rett Syndrome
- Tardive Dyskinesia
- Williams Syndrome
- Martin Bell Syndrome (Fragile x syndrome)
- Landau Kleffner Syndrome
- Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What To Expect During The Interview Process?
First, the clinician will interview to gather information. The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R), takes about 90 to 120 minutes. If the screener indicates that an individual may have autism spectrum disorder, the recommendation of a comprehensive evaluation will be made. The clinician will include interviews with caregivers, parents, teachers, and other persons of significance, including the family physician.
Different tools that may be used during the process of evaluation could be the M-CHAT (asks questions about behaviors). The Childhood Autism Rating Scale and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a basic developmental screener.
The STAS is another screener that probes autism symptom behaviors in more detail than other screeners mentioned, and is an excellent tool to identify children who are candidates for further evaluation. Screener results are NOT a diagnosis but may indicate that a child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Should the recommendation of a comprehensive evaluation be made, the next step is The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2).
The ADOS is a test with different modules to accommodate a range of children. The primary purpose is to evaluate the social skills and repetitive behaviors displayed during the test.
Another good diagnostic test instrument is The Symbolic Behavior Scales. Great clinicians will include various cognitive tests because it gives them an opportunity to observe and learn more about how the client (child) thinks, organizes, plans, and solves problems. Also, the clinician is able to examine behaviors under a different set of circumstances and can identify the client’s weaknesses and strengths which will lead to a more specific and meaningful educational program. The client has the choice to receive the results of the test via mail or in office. It is important for the parents to understand the results of the test so they may make informed decisions about what is in the best interests of their child in terms of therapy and educational development.
The Developmental Neurobiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Emanual DiCicco-Bloom, Catherine Lord, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Eric Courchesne, Stephen R. Dager, Christoph Schmitz, Robert T. Schultz, Jacqueline Crawley, and Larry J. Young. Journal of Neuroscience 28 June 2006, 26 (26)DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI 1712-06 2006 The Cutting Edge From Research to Practice (Prizant, B. 2012) Autism Spectrum Quarterly.
Fees: ADI-R $500.00
ADOS-2 $1000.00 (includes other tests)
*A monthly payment plan is available.