Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a spectrum of complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication. Unusual and/or repetitive behaviors or interests are also typically present. The symptoms of ASD can manifest in many different ways, and the severity of the symptoms varies widely. In addition, other conditions may look similar to ASD. These issues make it a challenge to accurately diagnosis ASD. Many children are often misdiagnosed or do not receive an accurate diagnosis until their late preschool or early elementary years. This is truly problematic, as research has clearly demonstrated children with ASD receive optimal benefit from specific types of interventions prior to the age of 7. Is it particularly concerning given the fact that symptoms of ASD can be identified during the first year of life.
Dr. Kelderman, Dr. Panora, and Dr. Bowles are experts in the assessment and diagnosis of ASD. ASD assessments include a comprehensive, in-depth parent interview, teacher interview (if available) developmental and/or neuropsychological testing, and the administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). The ADOS is a semi-structured play interaction designed to elicit the types of behaviors associated with ASD. It is considered to be the “gold standard” diagnostic tool in the ASD scientific community.
A child’s behavior during the ADOS, combined with other test scores and an expert’s clinical impression, has been shown to accurately identify the vast majority of children with ASD. Parents often have concerns about their child’s development and behavior years before their child is accurately diagnosed. If you are worried your child may have a form of Autism, you should not “wait and see.” This often costs families valuable time and progress. Parents are welcome to call Dr. Kelderman, Dr. Panora, and Dr. Bowles for a free phone consultation in order to determine whether additional assessment is warranted.