Autism Assessments for Children and Teens

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by neurodevelopmental differences in social communication and interactions. It also includes restrictive and repetitive behaviors such as intense interests, difficulties with change and a high need for routine, sensory processing differences, and/or repetitive body movements to support coping and regulation. Autistic traits are apparent early in life (typically by age 2-3), though in some situations, it is not recognized as autism until later in life. Each autistic child will have their own unique set of strengths and challenges and may require different levels of daily support in each area. For some children, delays and challenges may be very apparent. For others, these brain-based differences may be more subtle, as some learn to hide or “mask” their differences to fit in with neurotypical peers. Research shows that masking can lead to distress and mental health struggles over time.

Our child ASD assessments are comprehensive and include caregiver interviews and standardized questionnaires, a review of medical and educational history/records, observations, and one-to-one testing activities with your child. These assessments align with current diagnostic criteria and best practice. The severity of your child’s symptoms is also rated based on the level of daily support they require. Because ASD falls along a very broad continuum, assessment and diagnosis needs to be done with care and expertise. ASD cannot be accurately assessed with a checklist-only approach.

An ASD assessment (and a formal diagnosis, if warranted) provides more than just insight and understanding of how your child’s mind works. It includes practical strategies that capitalize on your child strengths and resources to manage difficulties so that they have the tools needed to succeed.

Children and teens who exhibit the following traits may benefit from an Autism (ASD) assessment:

Our Autism Assessment Process

At J. Gordon Psychology Group, we approach ASD assessments from a multidisciplinary perspective. Our child Psychologist and pediatric Occupational Therapist team will collect information to learn more your child’s functioning across home, childcare and school settings. We’ll focus on how your child relates to their environment and interacts with others in their world, as well as their communication/language skills, sensory processing, emotional responses and regulation, and thinking/reasoning skills.

We use many standardized assessment tools to obtain a more formal assessment of your child’s unique strengths and differences and to determine whether their profile meets diagnostic criteria for ASD:

Autism often co-occurs with other conditions such as Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), cognitive and academic learning difficulties, and anxiety. Accordingly, these areas will be screened for during your child’s assessment as well.

Following the assessment (3-4 weeks later), your Psychologist and Occupational Therapist will meet to discuss the results with you and a written report will be provided. A detailed list of recommendations will also be reviewed. These suggestions will highlight your child’s strengths and provide supports to enhance their daily functioning.

A diagnosis can help you and your child/teen understand why they are having difficulties and feel less alone and confused by them. A formal assessment report also helps professionals working with your child or teen to know how to best support them.

What type of interventions and supports might you recommend after my child’s assessment?

Recommendations must be targeted and specific to your child’s unique strengths and challenges. The most important accommodation is to support your child to be their most authentic self while giving them the tools to succeed across environments. We may recommend:

If you are still uncertain as to whether an assessment would be helpful for your child or teen, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

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J. Gordon Psychology Group

Helping resolve challenging life experiences and give space for healing.