Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the term used to describe a number of conditions that typically affect a person’s social interactions, behaviour and ability to learn. Autism is not a disease, and therefore, it cannot be “cured.” ASD does, however, affect every individual differently. With effective treatments and therapies, people on the autism spectrum can receive meaningful assistance and successfully integrate the disorder into their daily lives.
Are You Considering Testing and Diagnosis for Your Child?
Persons on the autism spectrum will often see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. And while autistic people share certain difficulties, ASD affects each individual uniquely. Testing and diagnosis is the first, crucial step in ensuring your child receives meaningful help and assistance from the very start.
Three Primary Benefits for Parents:
- Gain an accurate understanding of your child’s specific and unique needs.
- Get the assistance you need to plan for and provide a great quality of life for your child.
- Minimize the fear and confusion surrounding autism for your entire family.
What to Expect at Your Initial Consult
All testing and diagnosis begins with an initial 90-minute consultation between parents, your child and an Oxford CBT Clinical Psychologist. During that session, your psychologist will work to understand your concerns as parents while also observing your child’s interaction, communication and behaviour. Your clinician will also use the time to gather information relevant to your child’s medical history and ongoing health. They will also administer the RCADS questionnaire, which screens for anxiety disorders and depression.
At the conclusion of your initial consultation, your Oxford CBT clinician will be prepared to identify whether specific symptoms or signs warrant further exploration and/or testing. The psychologist will also formalize these findings in a report and email it to parents.
If traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder are identified, further assessments will be recommended and scheduled. Examples of common tests include:
- CAST, which screens for Autism
- ASSQ, which screens for high functioning autism
- VANDERBILT, which screens for ADHD
- SHORT SENSORY PROFILE, which screens for sensory sensitivity
A Brief Overview of ASD Testing
ASD testing begins with behavioral observations in multiple environments, including parents, school and other professionals. Typically, we achieve this by asking parents and teachers (or other appropriate individuals) to complete one or more assessment surveys. These are important tools, as they helps identify whether your son or daughter demonstrates similar behaviours in more than one setting.
The Diagnostic Report
Once all information has been received, a report will then be completed and sent to parents. Oxford CBT will also schedule time with you to explain the report and provide practical recommendations for moving forward. These recommendations usually include a block of sessions with a therapist.
The ADOS Diagnostic Report will provide the following information:
- A specific Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, if applicable
- Detailed insights into your child’s specific needs and strengths
- Specific recommendations for ongoing therapies and support
- If necessary, the report may also recommend further testing for conditions not on the Autism Spectrum and addressed by the assessments performed
Following completion of testing, we also recommend that parents consult with your child’s general practitioner, especially if there are behavioural difficulties for which medication may be an option.
We Are Here to Help
Beginning the assessment process can be worrisome, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Contact us today with your questions. We’ll be happy to help identify the best next step for your family.