The term “spectrum” in Autism Spectrum Disorders refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. Autism Spectrum Disorders are characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication. In addition, your child or loved one may exhibit repetitive behavior and restricted interests.
These symptoms will begin in early childhood and cause difficulties in social and school functioning. Some children develop normally in the first year and experience a regression between 18-24 months of age.
Symptoms can include but are not limited to:
- Reduced eye contact
- Indifference to caregivers
- Suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive
- Loss of language skills around 2 years of age they’ve already acquired
- Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
- Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm, such as using a robot-like speech
- Repeats words or phrases verbatim but doesn’t understand how to use them
- Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or directions
- Doesn’t point at or bring objects to share an interest
- Inappropriately approaches a social interaction by being passive, aggressive, or disruptive
- Fascinated by details of an object but doesn’t understand the overall purpose or function of the object
- Is unusually sensitive to light, sound, or touch, yet may be indifferent to pain or temperature
- Doesn’t engage in make-believe play
- Fixates on an object or activity with abnormal intensity or focus
- Has specific food preferences or refusing foods with a certain texture
It is important to remember that each child with autism spectrum disorder has a unique behavior pattern and level of severity — from low functioning to high functioning. Intensive and early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children on the Autism Spectrum. Our clinicians are highly skilled in this type of assessment and diagnosis. We use various inventories and structured interviews with the child and parent, behavioral observations of the child with puzzle and toy-like tasks, and paper-pencil assessment measures as needed.
Our evaluation will assess for challenges in social interaction, speech, nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. It typically involves:
- Consultation with the client or parent of the child being assessed to gather more information on reasons why the evaluation is needed.
- A review of medical, mental health treatment, and school records. This will help us have a better understanding of the client’s history of psychological/neuropsychological functioning.
- A collateral interview with the parent or family member and teacher to help us gather additional information about the individual’s general and psychological/neuropsychological background, behavior, responses to prior treatment, and timeline of when difficulties/problems began to occur.
- A clinical interview with the client.
- We will administer a battery of neuropsychological tests to objectively assess for mental health and neuropsychological symptoms and disorders.
- We will identify any necessary treatment recommendations and accommodations.
- We will meet with the client or parent to review and discuss findings.
Last, we will write a comprehensive report in simple language that integrates our findings and give it to the client or parent.