AUTISM SPECTRUM TESTING
Our psychologists are happy to provide assessments for your child or you related to the diagnosis of Autism. If you suspect that your child or you may be Autistic, a diagnostic evaluation can assist with accessing needed early interventions, establishing or maintaining accommodations, or accessing other support services.
What behaviors or experiences might suggest the need for autism-specific testing for children?
Autism can sometimes be detected in the early toddler years (18 months and older); however, many people do not receive a diagnosis until much later in life. You and your child may benefit from an autism evaluation if you notice the following:
For infants and young children:
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful, and engaging expressions and limited or no eye contact by 6 months
- Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months
- Little or no babbling, little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving, and/or little or no response to name by 12 months
- Very few or no words by 16 months
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
At any age:
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling, or social skills
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development
- Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
What behaviors or experiences might suggest the need for autism-specific testing in adolescents and adults?
Some adolescents and adults may have spent their whole lives not realizing that many of their experiences or challenges faced are related to signs of autism. For many autistic teens and adults, going through life without a diagnosis may feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole since trying to live by standards made for non-neurodivergent people can be quite tricky and result in low self-esteem, poor motivation, social isolation, and anxiousness. Diagnosis can also help a person to better understand themselves and make sense of their life history.
While the hallmark indications of autism mainly occur in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, individual experiences vary widely. The signs may be more subtle in adolescents and adults and may include:
- Feelings of social disconnection, wanting to isolate and feeling isolated, feeling left out of social circles or not fitting in
- Difficulty interpreting others’ feelings or understanding what they are thinking
- Difficulty picking up on or misunderstanding nonverbal cues such as eye rolls, shoulder shrugging, and facial expressions
- Difficulty seeing things from another’s perspective
- Talking too loudly or being too quiet
- Not using gestures to communicate or feeling misunderstood by others when sharing things of interest to them
- Exhibiting repetitive behaviors that take on different forms such as needing to keep items in the same order or in a fixed place, needing strict consistency in daily routines
- Experiencing intense interests that might seem unusual to others in content or depth of knowledge
How does autism spectrum testing at FamilyFirst work?
It is important to know that the above behaviors and experiences can be related to a number of diagnoses or neurodiverse experiences. Therefore, our trained psychologists will tailor an evaluation to meet you or your child’s specific needs in order to make a differential diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.
Autism evaluations at FamilyFirst are tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals, whether that is the administration of the ADOS-2 only to supplement previous testing or to monitor treatment progress, or can be incorporated into a comprehensive evaluation. FamilyFirst offers several options for individuals or families seeking autism assessments.
ADOS-2 Administration and Report ONLY
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) is considered the gold standard in assessing individuals of all ages to assist in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. Our trained psychologists will administer the ADOS-2 and provide a brief written report detailing the results. ADOS-2 Administration and Report only may be a good option for those who need to clarify or supplement previous evaluation results.
Autism Spectrum Evaluation
Our psychologists also provide more detailed autism evaluations that include IQ testing, administration of the ADOS-2, parent and teacher evaluation forms, consultation with parents, teachers, and other providers, assessment of pragmatic language skills and adaptive skills, and administration of other measures needed to make differential diagnoses.
Comprehensive Evaluation with Autism Testing
Comprehensive evaluations include all of the services provided in the Autism Spectrum Evaluation with the addition of extensive evaluation of cognitive and neuropsychological processes, educational and achievement, and social, emotional, and behavioral processes.