Identifying children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be life-changing and provide them access to services and information. Early intervention and targeted therapy can lead to tremendous gains for young children with autism; however, for insurance companies to cover these services, children typically need a diagnosis of Autism. Older children may need a diagnosis to justify an IEP or 504 plan in school, private support services, or other programs that require medical documentation of autism. We offer a balanced approach to evaluation, to identify both the child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a subtype of autism which many families identify with. Children with PDA experience significant anxiety, which often results in meltdowns, tantrums, and other behaviors. While PDA is not currently a separate diagnosis, when described along with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, it can open the door to understanding and strategies for families and educators.
We are comfortable assessing children as young as 18 months for early signs of autism up through adults of any age. Our experience allows us to meet the needs of different types of clients, rather than using a “cookie-cutter” approach. We are aware of the different ways that autism can present in girls and women, and some of the testing and interviews with females focuses on their experience of “camouflaging” their symptoms and their internal experiences involving socialization. We are familiar with the concepts of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), which many families have found and identify with.