Initial Assessment for Autism
When you call to schedule an initial evaluation for suspected autism spectrum disorder, your intake coordinator will take down all initial information about you or your child over the phone.
While Fayetteville Psychiatric Associates doesn’t have treatment providers specializing in autism spectrum disorder, we do treat the interconnected conditions. These conditions can include:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
What is Autism
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism isn’t just one condition, but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental factors.
The most obvious signs of ASD appear between ages 2 and 3, but in some cases can be diagnosed as early as 18 months
Most families or/and caregivers report symptoms within the first two years if life and will typically express concern by 18 months of age. Studies have found:
- Reports of abnormalities in the child’s language development and social relatedness at around 14 months of age
- Fewer joint attention and communication behaviors at age 1 than their typical same-age peers
- Abnormal eye contact, passivity, decreased activity level and delayed language by 12 months of age
- Differences in sensory-motor and social behaviors
- Differences in the use of communicative gestures
- A decline in eye fixation from 2 to 6 months of age
The identification of early behavioral indicators can help families obtain appropriate diagnoses and access early intervention services before an ASD-definitive diagnosis is made.
There is no single test for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children. Instead, diagnosis is based on:
- Watching how your child interacts and plays with others
- Reviewing the developmental history
- Interviewing you as a parent or caregiver
Teens and Beyond
Assessing autism in a previously undiagnosed teenager or adult can be a challenge. The commonly used diagnostic tools are meant to be used for children which means there is no established diagnostic test for adults. Because of these limitations, the evaluation of an adult has to heavily lean on direct observations from the patient and their support system.
The diagnosis is important because, even those who are high functioning and have developed resourceful strategies to cope, many patients still struggle with their day-to-day lives