By Dr. Irma Campos, Licensed Psychologist
As a parent or individual seeking Autism testing, I know it can be a stressful process. There are often numerous questions about Autism testing and assessments and about next steps if there is an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that needs to be diagnosed as early as possible in order to increase the likelihood of treatment effectiveness. I urge you not to wait if you suspect an Autism Spectrum Disorder may be present. In this post, I will review what you need to know about Autism Disorder testing and assessment. In a future post, I will review what to do regarding next steps if you receive a positive Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. My aim is to support you through the process with the necessary knowledge and tools to guide you as a parent or individual.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex disorder to assess and firmly diagnose. There are many ways Autism Spectrum Disorder presents, and Autism Spectrum symptoms can overlap with other disorders. Thus, I highly recommend you select a licensed psychologist (a specialist in psychological assessments) with access to and relevant training in Autism-specific standardized psychological assessments. For example, the ADOS-2 is one assessment option that I highly recommend to look for. The ADOS-2 was originally used exclusively in clinical research and due to its effectiveness, it was released for psychologists to utilize in diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders across age groups and communication abilities. In order to administer this assessment, you have to be trained in understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder generally as well as administering and interpreting the ADOS-2 specifically. Therefore, you can expect a thorough approach in utilizing this assessment.
Next, make sure your provider is using a comprehensive assessment approach. By this I mean that they are incorporating multiple sources of data (e.g., reports from multiple individuals, standardized psychological assessments, behavioral observations). Also, I recommend you inquire about the need to assess for possible comorbid disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders have a high rate of comorbidity with other disorders, such as Anxiety Disorders. In order for any practitioner to develop an effective treatment plan, recommendations, and accommodations, they should identify all mental disorder diagnoses and specific impairments in functioning.
Interface Consulting and Psychological Services is available to consult further about this topic. We offer Autism Spectrum Disorder testing and assessment. We utilize the ADOS-2 and any other assessments deemed relevant on a case by case basis for all ages (2 years of age to adulthood). Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in acquiring additional information. We are here to help you and your child/teen navigate this experience as best as possible. Call us at 813-421-2375.