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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to engage in social communication and interaction, and individuals may also demonstrate restrictive and repetitive patterns of behavior.  Additionally, individuals with ASD often display various sensory sensitivities.

Autism Spectrum Disorder encapsulates the previous disorders of Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which has expanded the criteria for the diagnosis.

Should I evaluate my child?

Every case is different but if you are worried about your child’s social development, an evaluation for ASD may be warranted.  Specific symptoms of ASD are always present before the age of 5. They may include some or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with peers and/or adults and children who are often just as happy to be alone as with others
  • Poor eye contact
  • Toe walking
  • Atypical language development (including delayed language development)
  • Sensory difficulties
  • Rigid adherence to rules or schedules
  • A general inflexible disposition
  • Great difficulty managing even small changes in daily activities
  • Interests that become excessive or are not age appropriate

For an official diagnosis of ASD, behavior should be present in various settings (i.e. home, school and community) not just 1 setting.  If your child is enrolled in a school, daycare or other community activity, and others have mentioned these symptoms, speak with your pediatrician or reach out for more information.

What does an Evergreen evaluation look like?

As every individual is different, each evaluation will vary based on the need.  At Evergreen, Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists are trained on the Autism Diagnostic Observation System-Second Edition (ADOS-2); an assessment tool considered to be one of the most effective methods for examining potential ASD symptoms and making the diagnosis of ASD.  In addition to examining ASD symptoms, the evaluation will examine other potential behavioral or developmental concerns to rule out other factors that could be contributing to the behaviors/symptoms of concern.

The Psychologists at Evergreen can assist in helping to create an individualized assessment battery that will meet your child’s needs.  Other areas that may be examined could include:

  • Behavioral observations
  • Parent/caregiver interview
  • Behavior ratings scales for both home and school
  • Examination of family, medical, developmental and education history
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Academic achievement
  • Social/behavioral functioning
  • Adaptive behavior
  • Executive functioning
  • Language and communication

The Psychologists at Evergreen are highly trained, experienced and empathetic professionals.  They are available to provide a diagnostic assessment, develop an appropriate treatment plan, and support families as they move forward.

What does this all mean?

The best treatment for ASD involves early detection and early intervention therapies, which can help to significantly minimize an individual’s symptoms and difficulties over the lifespan. It cannot be emphasized enough that early detection is extremely important.  Early intervention services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions, and psychotherapy for emotional and psychological symptoms.  Psychologists at Evergreen are also available for consultation related to an ASD or other developmental evaluation.  In addition, we offer various treatment services for all affected individuals.  Psychotherapy and emotional support for family members is also important for all affected individuals, including the child, parent and family.

Give us a call if you have a question!

Evergreen’s Psychological Evaluation Team includes only Licensed Clinical Psychologists and Nationally Certified School Psychologists.  We can ensure that your information will be treated in a confidential manner with respectful staff who value your individual autonomy and dignity.