When to get kids tested… and what does an Autism diagnosis mean?

autism-diagnosisAutism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a set of complex — and frequently misunderstood — disorders of brain development. According to a recently published article by Emily Willingham in Scientific American, “These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”

For parents, understanding the Autism Spectrum is often confusing, in part due to changing definitions and popular misconceptions.  For example, in May 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) merged all autism disorders into one diagnosis of ASD and eliminated all subcategories – from Asperger Syndrome, to Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, to Autistic Disorder.

Why does my child need Autism testing?

Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S. Ten years ago, Autism’s estimated prevalence was 1 in 166. Today it’s 1 in 68 – an increase of more than 100% in one decade.

Making the decision to have a child evaluated may be difficult. Parents can struggle with fear, worry, and even shame. However, a persistent feeling that “something is off” is an indicator that testing is necessary.

According to Autism Speaks, “Often parents are the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviors such as failing to make eye contact, not responding to his or her name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways.”

What are the symptoms of Austism or ASD?

ASD symptoms include intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention, and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some people with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.

It’s important to note that ASD is a spectrum, each child is unique, and not all exhibit “classic” symptoms, which is why diagnosis is crucial. One third of children (and adults) with autism are nonverbal.

Autism Speaks, “Autism can be reliably diagnosed by age two…earlier intervention improves outcomes. Early intervention can change underlying brain development and activity. It’s also cost-effective, as it reduces the need for educational and behavioral support in grade school and beyond.”

For early indicators of autism, see Learn the Signs.

What is the evaluation process? How Is Autism or ASD diagnosed?

A specialist looks for a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that emerge across the span of several tests. And, the good news is, that once an evaluation is completed, a report will yield crucial, detailed information about the child’s strengths, weaknesses, and neurological development.

After the evaluation, what’s the next step?

After the evaluations, recommendations will be made to parents and educators regarding the best teaching methods and educational environment for the student to reach his or her full potential.

The resulting formal report can be used to:

  • Document the need for special services to be provided by the schools
  • Take extended time SATs and High School Entrance Exams, and many other tests
  • Evaluate for entrance into a gifted program
  • Accommodate through 504 Plans

Autism testing and psycho-educational evaluations in Wilmington, Delaware

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. offers psycho-educational evaluations for children and adults performed by licensed, clinical psychologists on staff in Wilmington, Delaware.

Using the most sophisticated measures available, Back to Basics can help maximize a student’s success by analyzing the style in which he/she learns, his/her strengths and non-strengths, and any learning differences. Recommendations will be made to parents and educators regarding the best teaching methods and educational environment for the student to reach his/her full potential.

In addition to Austiism and ASD screening, Back to Basics also offers psycho-educational evaluations for:

  • I.Q.
  • Academic Achievement Levels (by grade level and age level)
  • Visual-Motor
  • Learning Disability and Giftedness Screening
  • Verbal and Visual Memory
  • Visual and Auditory Perception

To learn more about Autism evaluations and psycho-educational testing in Wilmington, Delaware, please contact Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. at 302-594-0754.

About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc.

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects. Since 1985, our commitment to a 1-on-1 teaching method has differentiated us from other educational service providers.

We serve the diverse needs of a range of students – from those who simply need some academic support, to those who are learning disabled, hearing or visually impaired, ADHD, gifted, or on the Autism Spectrum including High Functioning Autistic and Aspergers.

And, we offer a menu of services that includes the widest array of educational options in the tri-state area: 1-on-1 tutoring in over 60 subjects, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, ELL teachers, homebound services, and psycho-educational testing. In addition, Back to Basics offers exceptional, 1-on-1 test prep for tests including the SAT, PSAT, SAT II, ACT, GRE, PRAXIS, GED, and HSEE. Back to Basics also offers summer school, original credit, and credit recovery, plus unique enrichment options and professional development.

And, Back to Basics operates a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware.

Photo by Ambro and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

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