Child Autism Evaluations

Child Autism Evaluations

Child Autism Evaluation

Early signs of autism

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. I 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.

An Autism Evaluation Consists of:

  1. Several online appointments—An evaluation starts with a 2-hour parent interview. During this first appointment, I will ask you about your child, their detailed developmental history, and what you are looking for in an evaluation. Depending on the child and their needs, we will schedule one to three additional video-appointments. You will also have some rating scales to complete online to provide more information about your child’s typical behaviors.

  2. A 2 hour (typically virtual) appointment for a diagnostic evaluation to learn more about the client’s current and historical functioning and how they experience sensory and social events. 

  3. A written report of results

  4. An explanation of results, with recommendations and next steps for suggested follow-up. The goal is that by the end of this process, you have a clear understanding of your child’s strengths and needs and a vision of what supports the child might need moving forward.

Dr. Myszak is comfortable assessing children as young as 16 months for early signs of autism up through adults of any age. Her experience allows her to meet the needs of different types of clients, rather than using a “cookie-cutter” approach. Dr. Myszak is 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. She is familiar with the concepts of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), which many families have found and identify with.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Evaluations may include (but are not limited to):

  • ADOS-2 (Modified at this time due to telehealth), a structured observation for symptoms of autism

  • CARS-2, a checklist of symptoms associated with autism

  • MIGDAS-2, a structured interview to assess for symptoms of autism

  • ADI-R, a structured developmental interview focusing on early symptoms of autism

  • M-CHAT, a todder checklist assessing risk for autism

  • SCQ, a checklist for symptoms of autism

  • Vineland-3, an interview about adaptive functioning

  • CAT-Q, a rating scale about camouflaging symptoms

  • Measures of Visual Motor Integration

  • Measures of child development

  • Cognitive measures

  • Achievement/Academic Measures

  • Measures of Sensory processing

  • Measures of Executive Functioning

  • Social Language and Social Pragmatic Assessments

  • Other Qualitative Measures of Possible Autism Symptoms

She does not work with any students or trainees, and she personally completes all of the work that goes into each psychological evaluation. She takes pride in being able to help families learn about their child and learn what they can do to help them moving forward. In addition to providing a written report of results, she writes referrals for services and shares information with your other care providers at your request. She wants you to walk away from an evaluation with a clear understanding of your child’s strengths and needs and knowledge of what to do next to support your child.

Many evaluations (including autism evaluations of young children) can be completed over telehealth. With others, some portions (especially parent interviews and informing appointments) can be completed over telehealth with some in-person testing. If you wondering what is possible for your situation, please reach out for more information.

For children 4 and under, the rate for an autism evaluation is $1,500.  The total cost includes all sessions, a report of results and recommendations, and a feedback session to explain results and answer any questions that you may have. To do a comprehensive evaluation for older children, there is a flat rate of $4500—this gives Dr. Myszak the flexibility to do all of the testings that is needed and helpful. (Often, we do not need to do as much and the cost is less, but it will never be more than this amount.)  If autism has not already been diagnosed in an older child, it may be a more subtle form of autism and require assessment of the subtleties of pragmatic language—additionally, to justify a diagnosis and need for supports and services in school, it can be beneficial to evaluate multiple areas of functioning. She also asks about how children experience different social situations—rather than just seeing what she can observe—if autism is present, these answers are very different from the responses in neurotypical individuals. She is patient and able to find rapport with most patients—when working with PDA, she understands that sessions may sometimes need to be adjusted or shortened, and she is willing to do that to get the best results from a child. 

 

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