For children with learning disorders and intellectual disabilities, early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensuring their long-term development and ability to reach their potential. This is especially true for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An early autism diagnosis and intensive treatment can dramatically change the trajectory of a child’s life. This is why JumpStart Autism Center of Denver offers autism evaluations in addition to our ABA treatments.
How is Autism Diagnosed?
Autism is not a single disorder. Instead, specific behavioral symptoms are expressed on a spectrum, with children exhibiting different signs and symptoms of varying intensity. No two children with ASD will experience it in exactly the same way. This can make diagnosis challenging. However, diagnostic criteria for ASD have improved, making an autism diagnosis easier to obtain at an early age.
Most of our clients come to us from physician referrals. During the first few years of a child’s life, his or her pediatrician will complete routine assessments of the child’s development, measuring against certain standard developmental markers. If a child fails to meet these markers, he or she may be referred to our center for an autism evaluation and assessment for other potential psychological or intellectual issues.
ASD Diagnostic Evaluation
Our primary goal for our diagnostic evaluations is to first and foremost determine why your child is experiencing developmental delay and behavioral differences compared to their peers. Not only will we consider medical causes for their delays but we will also identify their developmental profile. This developmental profile identifies their strengths and weakness in their verbal and non-verbal problem solving, fine motor skills, receptive language and expressive language skills, and adaptive abilities.
Our diagnostic evaluations include:
- Completion of an intake (download JAC’s Intake Form, Patient Reg Form),
- Completion of ASD screening measures (M-CHAT & CSBS-DP),
- Assessment of your child’s developmental abilities (MSEL & PLS-5),
- Assessment of your child’s intellectual, memory, attention, executive function, communication, visual spatial, and motor skills,
- Assessment of your child’s adaptive skills (e.g., SIB-R or VABS-2),
- All individuals referred for an ASD evaluation will participate in ADOS-2,
- Completion of behavioral questionnaires (Social Responsiveness Scale-Revised, Behavior Assessment System for Children-Revised)
Based on this developmental profile we are able to determine if a specific behavior is consistent with their general abilities or if that behavior is more impaired than expect for their developmental abilities. Moreover, Dr. Lopez has 20 years of experience performing diagnostic evaluations with children who might be on the autism spectrum. It is this combination of years of experience and an individuals’ developmental profile that allows Dr. Lopez to make an accurate diagnosis and provide you with a range of medical and treatment recommendations that will allow you to address your child’s specific needs.
Depending on your child’s age, ASD diagnostic evaluation will require 5-10 hours for the full evaluation. Most of the evaluation will be completed in one day, and we’ll have you return about a week later to review the results. However, depending on your child’s specific needs, we might do a home visit or observe your child in a community/group setting. We will also ask you to bring all reports and IEPs/IFSPs. Video can also be very helpful. Please bring any video of unusual behaviors that you want Dr. Lopez to see or video of your child engaging others in a social interactions.
Most insurance will cover our diagnostic and neurodevelopmental evaluations. If we are not currently contracted with your insurance company, then we can develop a single case agreement to allow your insurance company to pay for the service.
For More Information
To learn more about our autism evaluations, or to inquire about enrolling your child in our ABA programs, contact us today. Our treatments are covered by insurance, including Medicaid, and these interventions have been proven effective in changing the trajectory of a child’s life.