Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

April 22, 2016

Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations at C&FD

Posted by: childandfamily

puzzle.jpgApril is Autism Awarness Month!

Three psychologists at Child and Family Development offer Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) evaluations and related services.

  • Devon Redmond PhD
  • Brandyn Street PsyD
  • Chris Vrabel PhD

ASD primarily affects three areas of behavior:

  • communication
  • social interactions or connectedness
  • behavioral rigidity

Because autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed based on behavior, the evaluation includes both formal assessments, as well as structured play and interaction scenarios.  Standardized tests are used for this purpose, and may include:

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2)
  • Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
  • Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) 
  • Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)
  • Vineland Adaptive Behavior System-Second Edition (Vineland)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V)
  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence- Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV)

The Wechsler scales are widely used and broadly accepted tests of cognitive skills for children with and without developmental delays or learning differences.  The ADOS is a semi-structured assessment that specifically examines those behaviors commonly associated with autism.  Other standardized instruments and informal measures may be used as needed to determine the presence of the behavioral characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Of course, each evaluation is designed to address the particular needs of each child and family. In addition to addressing the impact of behaviors often associated with autism, comprehensive evaluations may include an assessment of cognitive and intellectual skills, educational performance, social/emotional adjustment and independent living skills.

Similar to our Psychological-Educational evaluations, an ASD evaluation will include an Intake appointment with the parents or caregivers, several evaluation sessions, and an Interpretative Parent Conference providing results and recommendations.

The cost of the evaluation depends on several factors, including:

  • age of the child
  • the complexity of the testing
  • the unique needs of each child

Typically, testing is completed over three sessions. At times, two sessions are adequate. Our focus is on providing the best testing environment and ensuring that each child has the time and energy to do their very best. As a part of a multi-disciplinary practice, we can also assist in coordination of care with other therapists, including speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, educators and a psychiatrist.

Our April 22 Autism Conference in Charlotte will feature Dr. Gary Mesibov, a renowned expert.  This day-long conference is focused on understanding the neurological differences that research has identified between people with ASD and typical learners and then adjusting educational, clinical, and community-based programs to more closely match the learning styles and needs of those with ASD. The presentations will describe some of the learning differences that have been identified in people with ASD (referred to as The Culture of Autism) and show how these can be accommodated by making evidence-based appropriate adaptations in how interventions are created and delivered. Emphasis will be on strategies for teaching skills that will be needed to help those with ASD to achieve the highest quality of life possible and also on reviewing new approaches that are on the horizon.