Autism is a disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social skills. It varies from person to person in severity and symptoms. About one in 54 children in the US have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) . Autism assessments are tools that help diagnose and evaluate ASD and its impact on each individual. They can also help identify strengths, weaknesses, needs, and goals.
Getting an autism assessment can be challenging, confusing, and overwhelming for many people. There are different types of assessments, different professionals who can do them, and different criteria and methods that they use. In this post, we will provide some information and tips on how to navigate the autism assessment process and get the best possible outcome.
What is an Autism Assessment?
An autism assessment is a comprehensive evaluation that involves observing, interviewing, testing, and measuring various aspects of an individual’s functioning. The purpose of an autism assessment is to determine whether an individual has ASD, as well as to identify their level of support needs, strengths, challenges, and co-occurring conditions.
An autism assessment typically consists of two main components: a screening and a diagnosis.
A screening is a preliminary assessment that aims to identify individuals who may have ASD or other developmental disorders. A screening can be done by a primary care provider, such as a pediatrician or a family doctor. A screening usually involves asking questions and observing social and communication skills. A screening does not provide a definitive diagnosis of ASD, but rather indicates whether further evaluation is needed.
A diagnosis is a formal assessment that confirms or rules out the presence of ASD or a related disorder. A diagnosis can only be done by a qualified professional who has specialized training and experience in evaluating ASD, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, developmental pediatrician, or speech-language pathologist. A diagnosis usually involves conducting a comprehensive interview and administering standardized tests and observations that measure communication, social interaction, behavior, cognition, adaptive skills, and sensory processing. A diagnosis provides a clear and accurate picture of the individual’s condition and needs. It also provides access to appropriate services and supports that can help improve their quality of life and outcomes.
How to Prepare for an Autism Assessment?
Preparing for an autism assessment can be stressful and daunting for many people. However, there are some steps that you can take to make the process easier and smoother for yourself and your loved one.
Before the assessment:
- Do some research on ASD and its signs and symptoms. You can find reliable information online from reputable sources . You can also read books or watch videos about ASD from personal or professional perspectives.
- Gather relevant information about yourself or your loved one’s developmental history, medical history, family history, educational history, behavioral history, and current functioning. You can use documents, journals, calendars, or photos to support your information.
- Make a list of questions or concerns that you have about yourself or your loved one’s condition, needs, or goals. You can also note down any specific areas that you want to be assessed or addressed during the evaluation.
- Find out what type of assessment you will be undergoing, who will be conducting it, how long it will take, where it will take place, and what it will involve. You can contact the professional or organization that will be doing the assessment and ask them for more details. You can also ask them what you need to bring with you.
During the assessment:
- Be honest and open with the professional who is conducting the assessment. Provide as much information as possible about yourself or your loved one’s history, behaviors, and symptoms.
- Be respectful and cooperative with the professional who is conducting the assessment. Follow their instructions and guidance during the tests and observations.
- Be patient and flexible with the process. Understand that the assessment may take several hours or sessions to complete, and that it may involve different types of activities and questions.
After the assessment:
- Ask for feedback and a written report from the professional who conducted the assessment. Find out what the results mean and what the next steps are. Ask for recommendations and referrals for appropriate services and supports that can help you or your loved one.
- Review the results and report with yourself or your loved one. Discuss your feelings and thoughts about the outcome and how it affects your life and goals.
- Follow up with the professional who conducted the assessment or other professionals or providers who can help you or your loved one. Start or continue with the treatment plan that was recommended or prescribed for you or your loved one.
An autism assessment is a valuable tool that can help you or your loved one get a formal diagnosis of ASD, as well as identify your strengths, weaknesses, needs, and goals. However, getting an autism assessment can be challenging, confusing, and overwhelming for many people. By following some tips and steps, you can prepare yourself and your loved one for the evaluation process and get the best possible outcome.
If you have any questions or concerns about autism assessments, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at https://loveeducationalconsulting.com. I am a certified autism specialist who has over a decade of experience in conducting autism assessments and treatments for children. I can help you or your loved one get a comprehensive and accurate autism assessment that can improve your quality of life and outcomes. I am also the first person in Washington State to conduct the ADOS-2 in-home and not in-clinic, which allows me to provide a more convenient and safe service for you and your family.