Assessment & Diagnosis

Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation for Autism

Autism is a diverse spectrum, and it can manifest in countless ways. In fact, it’s the first step towards understanding your child’s unique strengths and unlocking their incredible potential. If your child is showing signs of autism, early screening and testing options can help you determine if they qualify for a diagnosis. You can get the support and answers you need from the team of experienced diagnosticians at Behavioral Innovations. We specialize in comprehensive autism evaluations for children between 18 months to 10 years of age.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 2021) recommends that all children be screened for ASD at ages 18 and 24 months.*

Assessments in Texas and Colorado

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    Signs of Autism in Children

    At Behavioral Innovations, we’re dedicated to helping children and families learn about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Around 1 in 36 children have a diagnosis of autism in the United States. While a single cause isn’t known for autism, it’s generally accepted that it’s caused by differences in brain structure or function.

    The complex neurodevelopmental condition can affect a child’s verbal and nonverbal communication, social skills, relationships, and self-regulation. The term “spectrum” emphasizes how these conditions can vary and present themselves differently for each person.

    Some common signs and characteristics of autism include:

    • Social communication and interaction challenges
    • Over- or under-sensitivity to sensory details like sounds, smells, taste, touch, etc.
    • Highly focused interests or hobbies
    • Restrictive and repetitive behavior
    • Unusual body movements, such as hand-flapping or walking on tiptoes.

    An early diagnosis and related steps for intervention are beneficial for helping children with ASD lead productive lives. Parents can also take The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test or CAST questionnaire to assesses for symptoms of autism.

    Take the CAST

    Therapist observing young boy
    Adult and autistic boy hands holding puzzle heart shape and ribbon. Autism spectrum disorder family support concept. World Autism Awareness Day

    Importance of Early Evaluation

    Our diagnostic evaluations offer a way to give families and caregivers a better understanding of a child’s behavior. It is critical to receive an evaluation for your child as soon as you start noticing changes in behavior.

    Early evaluation helps with:

    • Prompt initiation of early intervention services to help with communication, social interaction, and behavior management.
    • Improved outcomes, including improved language development, cognitive skills, and adaptive functioning.
    • Access to specialized services such as ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other behavioral interventions.
    • School readiness for successful learning and social interaction in a classroom setting.

    If you are a parent or caregiver of a child under the age of 10 and have noticed some of the possible symptoms above, our experts can guide you through our autism evaluation process.

    Schedule an Evaluation

    therapist a girl holding hands
    World autism awareness day concept. Child hands holding colorful puzzle heart on blue background

    How to Prepare for a Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

    When you come to Behavioral Innovations, we want to ensure you know what to expect. Here are some things to know before coming in for an autism evaluation. At any point throughout the evaluations, feel free to seek clarification and ask questions. Knowing what comes next can help you prepare your child and give you both peace of mind. We are in this together.

    Understand the Diagnostic Criteria

    To be diagnosed with autism, a child must meet certain criteria. The categories include social communication and repetitive, restrictive, and sensory behaviors, and interests. Familiarizing yourself with this information can help you provide details about any behaviors or issues your child may experience. Based on these factors, a professional will indicate how much support a child may need in areas of everyday life.

     

    Prepare Your Notes of Behaviors

    During your child’s assessment, you will be asked questions to gain an understanding of your child’s development. For example, a questionnaire may ask if your child makes eye contact with you when they want something or when they talk to you. Before the assessment, jot down any concerns or issues you’ve noticed in your child’s behavior. These details can come in handy throughout the scoring process. We look at the answers you provide and evaluate the criteria for each category of the ASD assessment.

     

    Gather Relevant Information

    Do you have any information that could assist with a diagnostic evaluation? Bring any relevant paperwork such as reports from previous services, school or therapy documents, and medical records. Additionally, feel free to include any compiled notes from daycare staff, teachers, and other caregivers. These notes can help paint a picture of how your child behaves in different environments.

     

    Prepare Your Child

    Before your appointment, sit down in a space where your child can feel calm and comfortable. Describe the evaluation experience using simple terms and descriptions. Talk about how the process offers an opportunity to share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. To make them feel more excited and positive about the overall process, consider sharing an incentive. You could offer one of their favorite treats or a new toy as a reward for their participation. The professionals conducting the assessments are there to support and help them.

     

    Plan for Comfort

    The night before your appointment, ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep. Being well-rested can help them feel better throughout the process. Try to maintain the same routines as much as possible that day and have your child eat before the assessments so they’re happier and can concentrate better. You can bring items like your child’s favorite blanket, toys or snacks. Having these items will help your child feel more comfortable throughout the process.

     

    Stay Supportive

    When you stay positive and calm, the diagnostic process is easier. Give your child a friendly smile and words of encouragement. Let them know everything’s OK and they’re doing a great job!

    What’s Included in a Diagnostic Evaluation?

    At Behavioral Innovations, our professionals provide accurate and thorough diagnostic evaluations. The entire process may take several hours to complete and may vary, depending on the complexity of each assessment and the individual needs of your child. Here’s an overview of what you and your child can expect:

    Initial Consultation

    During an initial consultation, our professionals will discuss your concerns and review any relevant notes about developmental milestones, medical histories, and records. We also ask caregivers to answer a questionnaire. This allows our team to offer tailored approaches and provide the most reliable assessments possible.

    Observed Activities

    Our diagnostic evaluations include observations of many activities. They’re designed to assess your child’s behavioral, communication, and social skills. We observe how your child responds to different situations, interacts with others, and plays.

    Diagnostic Tools

    By staying up to date with the latest research and innovations, our team provides the most accurate evaluations. We use evidence-based diagnostic tools to identify the proven traits and indicators of ASD.

    Detailed Feedback

    When the evaluation experience is complete, our diagnostic provider will meet with you to discuss the results of the evaluations. We share detailed feedback with recommendations for support and interventions aligned with your child’s needs.

    Written Report

    At the end, we’ll give you a written report. It features the evaluation’s findings with diagnostic conclusions. Any recommendations for support and interventions will appear in this document.

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    FAQs About Diagnostic Services

    To prepare for your child’s diagnostic evaluation, please review these common questions and answers:

    Our diagnostic services are currently offered in Texas and Colorado.

    At Behavioral Innovations, we currently offer a flat fee for diagnostic evaluations. The straightforward pricing includes the initial consultation, assessments and observations, feedback sessions, and the written report.

    Our company aims to include our diagnostic services under many insurance providers in the future. At this time, our diagnostic services require clients to pay the expenses out-of-pocket.

    Many insurance companies may require a re-evaluation to continue receiving insurance coverage for related services. Usually, the diagnostic reports are valid for around three years. It’s best to schedule an appointment months before a report expires so you can avoid any gaps in care coverage.

    Professionals at Behavioral Innovations can guide you through options for the next steps. We offer applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children with ASD. The scientific approaches aim to help children improve their lives and reach their full potential. You can read our article about ABA therapy to learn more.

    With the right support and interventions, some children diagnosed with ASD can show positive changes and improvements over a significant amount of time. Generally, ASD requires long-term support and is considered a condition that an individual may experience throughout their entire life.

    Meet the Team

    Our Diagnosing Physicians

    Get the Answers and Support You Need Today

    If you’re looking for an autism evaluation provider, we can help. Behavioral Innovations provides diagnostic services with related support and guidance. Our dedicated professionals can answer your questions and concerns.

    Want to connect with our client intake advocates? Or are you interested in scheduling a diagnostic evaluation? To get started, fill out a contact form today!

    Get Started  972-499-2744

    * Source: https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2024-10422-003.html

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