What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects the development of the brain, and it is reflected in areas of communication (e.g., use of language), social engagement (e.g., verbal and nonverbal deficits in social interactions), and behavior (e.g., limited range of interest or repetitive behavior). The deficits observed vary greatly as well as its severity. The condition lasts throughout the individual’s life.
The condition is diagnosed based on input from several sources such as family, medical professionals, observations, testing, and interviews with the individual and relatives. Diagnosing ASD is complex because other conditions can occur together (e.g., intellectual disability, sensory processing disorders, psychiatric symptoms, and others) with ASD.
The time required for the evaluation will vary as the selection of the test battery will depend on the information gathered and the patient’s level of functioning. The initial appointment will consist of the clinical interview. Two to three separate appointments for testing may be needed and an additional appointment to discuss the results.
How do I prepare for my child’s ASD evaluation?
It will be important to gather all pertinent information about your child. For example, medical records that include previous developmental evaluations, school records, and your notes on your child’s behavior. Make sure to note his or hers strengths and weaknesses. For your child’s comfort, please bring their favorite snack, toy, or comfort object.
About treatment: The treatments for ASD are tailored to the individual’s specific needs, which are identified with the help of the psychological evaluation. Common treatments include speech therapy, play therapy, physical therapy, other behavioral interventions, and could also include medication. Treatment success mostly depends on early intervention. Most importantly, do not give up! Children with autism grow at their own pace.