A healthcare provider might suggest undergoing an Autism evaluation, which is commonly referred to as an Autism assessment or “test”. It’s essential to understand that an Autism evaluation is not a mere test; rather, it is a comprehensive evaluation aimed at diagnosing Autism with accuracy.
Autism Evaluation at MHCA
Autism is a neurological condition and requires comprehensive testing from a licensed mental health provider to be diagnosed. Testing for Autism requires participation in list of neuropsychological assessments coupled with a thorough psychodiagnostics interview. It is highly recommended that you avoid taking any medication or consuming any type of stimulant (such as coffee) prior to your Autism assessment as they may influence your results.
Upon completion of your Autism test, your doctor will review and then interpret the findings from your assessment in order to determine diagnostic criteria. A comprehensive neuropsychological report will be written, and an appointment scheduled with you and your doctor to discuss the results.
It is important to remember that no two people are identical, and Autism symptoms may effect some more, or less than others. Additionally, differences in social environments such as home life, friends, school, and work will all influence the level of difficulty one may encounter with Autism symptoms.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a multifaceted developmental condition marked by persistent challenges in various domains, including social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors. The impact of ASD and the extent of its symptoms vary significantly from one individual to another.
ASD is typically identified during childhood, with many of its noticeable indicators becoming apparent around the ages of 2 to 3. However, in some cases, children with autism appear to develop typically until their toddler years when they may experience a regression in skills they had previously acquired.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that one in 36 children is affected by autism. Furthermore, ASD is more prevalent in boys, occurring three to four times more often in males than in females. It’s worth noting that some girls with ASD may display subtler signs in comparison to boys. Autism is a lifelong condition, but many children diagnosed with ASD can lead independent, productive, and fulfilling lives.
What is the cost of an Autism Evaluation?
- Autism Evaluation (Private pay and Insurance options available. Pricing will vary depending on the insurance provider and specific type of evaluation but will often range between $750 and $3,500. Please call (602) 704-2345 for current pricing.)
* MHCA participated in a wide variety of health insurance plans in effort to best serve our patients. If you have any questions related to health insurance acceptance or covered services, click here for more information.
Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is a highly variable condition, with differences in severity and the combination of symptoms from one individual to another. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit a wide spectrum of abilities and characteristics, making each child unique in their appearance and behavior. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may evolve over time.
The characteristics of autism spectrum disorder can be categorized into two primary domains:
- Social Interaction and Communication Challenges: These may include difficulties in engaging in typical back-and-forth conversations, limited sharing of interests or emotions, struggles with interpreting and responding to social cues like eye contact and facial expressions, difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships (including making friends), and other related difficulties.
- Restricted and Repetitive Patterns of Behaviors, Interests, or Activities: This category encompasses behaviors such as hand-flapping and toe-walking, unconventional ways of playing with toys (e.g., lining up cars or repeatedly flipping objects), distinctive speech patterns (like using unusual speech patterns or quoting lines from favorite shows), a strong need for predictable routines or structure, intense and uncommon interests, heightened sensory experiences (e.g., indifference to pain or extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli), and more.
It’s important to note that while some individuals with autism have average or above-average intelligence, others may experience mild to significant intellectual delays. Additionally, individuals with ASD face an increased risk of certain medical conditions, including sleep problems, seizures, and mental health issues.
What to expect at the Autism Evaluation?
First, you will meet with a Licensed Psychologist for a clinical interview. This portion of the evaluation should take around 60 minutes. You will then transition into the testing and assessment portion of the evaluation. This portion can vary between 3 – 5 hours depending upon the level of engagement and the number of breaks taken in between the assessments. After you complete the testing and assessment portion of the evaluation then you are free to go. The doctor will compile your results and write the report.
A thorough examination, encompassing medical, physical, and neurodevelopmental aspects, is conducted to ascertain whether you or your child exhibit symptoms aligning with Autism.
The documentation of symptoms through the utilization of rating scales and other informational resources serves to verify whether you or your child align with established standardized criteria.
During an interview, inquiries are made about your child’s behavior across different settings, including but not limited to home and school environments.
ASD Evaluation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does an ASD evaluation take?
On average an Austim evaluation could take between 4 – 7 hours.
How to prepare for an ASD evaluation?
Avoid stimulants, like caffeine, and be prepared to inform your provider of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you may be taking. Do your best to get a full nights sleep the night before your evaluation. It may be helpful to bring a light snack to your evaluation. Water will be provided. Turn off or leave at home anything that may serve as a distraction such as cell phone or watch.
When should I know the results of the ASD evaluation?
The results of your evaluation will be provided at your review appointment (typically 2 – 4 days following your initial evaluation). The review appointment should last around 30 minutes. Your doctor will thoroughly review your results with you and answer any questions you might have.