Autism Evaluations from The Autism Center of North Louisiana

 

The Autism Diagnostic Evaluation is the first step and a vital part of the beginning to seek the appropriate treatment for your child. Our diagnostic evaluation involves a multi-disciplinary team of doctors including a pediatric psychiatrist, psychologist, behavior analyst, speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist. This specific type of comprehensive evaluation helps parents better understand as much as possible about their child's strengths and needs.


It is important to seek a formal comprehensive evaluation that is validated through standardized testing provided by a multi-disciplinary team. This method is the most accurate method of diagnosis and is considered the gold standard in the process of Autism Diagnosis.


To begin this journey you will be asked to meet formally with the Behavior Analyst whom works directly with children and families impacted by Autism. This consultation lasts up to 90 minutes and will include only the family and/or caretakers of the child. During this time you and the Behavior Analyst will gain information to better understand your concerns, educate you on the diagnostic process, and send you home with the tools you need to begin supporting your child immediately.

Signs of Autism

 

Symptoms of Autism vary in presentation, frequency, and intensity. This is why the disorder is called Autism SPECTRUM Disorder. The following are symptoms and/or disorders that are associated with Autism:

Communication Disorders

Autism is most associated with poor communication or lack of communication. This is impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems.

Maladaptive Behavior

Children with Autism are often associated with behaviors such as tantrums, head banging, biting and other inappropriate behaviors. These behaviors serve a purpose and allow the child to access desirable consequences for their behaviors.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Children who present with Autism may have a hypersensitivity to external stimuli. This hypersensitivity may affect ones sense, like hearing, touch, or taste. Or it may affect multiple senses. Children can be over- or under-responsive to the things they have difficulties with.

Eating Disorders

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), also previously known as selective eating disorder (SED), is a type of eating disorder, as well as feeding disorder, where the consumption of certain foods is limited based on the food's appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experiences. ARFID and Pica are often seen in children with Autism. Pica is persistent eating of substances such as dirt or paint that have no nutritional value is often observed as well.

Motor Deficits

Children diagnosed with Autism often exhibit poor development of function of body parts, usually a limb or limbs. This may be a result in muscle weakness, poor stamina, or lack of muscle control.

Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors

Obsessions and compulsions have been reported to function as a way of coping when the environment is unpredictable and as a means of helping to control the unpredictability. Anxiety often develops because of the unpredictability, and it is reduced when an individual engages in repetitive behaviors.

Social Skill Deficits

Pragmatic language impairments are related to Autism and Asperger Syndrome, but also could be related to other non-autistic disabilities such as ADHD and intellectual disabilities. People with these impairments have special challenges with the semantic aspect of language (the meaning of what is being said) and the pragmatics of language (using language appropriately in social situations). It is assumed that those with autism have difficulty with "the meaning of what is being said" due to different ways of responding to social situations.

Will private insurance cover the cost of ABA Therapy?

Many private insurance companies will cover ABA Therapy for individuals diagnosed with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder. A psychological evaluation and an order for ABA therapy are required for coverage of ABA services. Insurance coverage for services will be assessed prior to treatment or initial evaluation. As a courtesy, our office will check coverage for you.

Schedule a consultation

 

Next, you will be scheduled to consult with our child psychiatrist to continue the screening process. Our screening process allows us to assess all factors both externally and internally that may be causing deficits to manifest. During this time, a series of questions will be asked to better understand medically related factors that may have caused delays in your child’s development. You will be educated on potential biological impacts to your child’s development and options for treatment. An initial diagnosis may be given during this time.


In order to confirm the initial diagnosis of Autism, standardized instruments (tests) must be conducted by the multi-disciplinary team. If an initial diagnosis was given during the screening process, your child will be scheduled for formal testing with the Psychologist, Behavior Analyst, Speech Therapist, and Occupational Therapist. Our testing process is designed to be conducted all in one day but may take up to 2 days. This is dependent upon the cooperation and current functioning of your child.


Once formal testing is complete, you will be given a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation report. This evaluation report will include recommendations for treatment, including local providers. You may also use the evaluation to receive Special Education services for your child at his school. Our comprehensive evaluation is recognized by all insurance carriers and will allow your child to receive approved services.

The Autism Center

The Autism Center of North Louisiana is dedicated to provide a high quality of intensive, evidence-based behavioral treatment for children with autism spectrum and related disorders. We provide Applied Behavior Analysis services to children and their families in our clinics, in homes and in schools throughout North Louisiana.

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