How should autistic assessments look like?

What are autistic assessments? These are tests meant to diagnose autism at an early stage. They test social interactions, communication, and play of a child.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diverse. As such, it makes it hard to diagnose correctly. A child with ADHD may be diagnosed as autistic. Sometimes a child may be autistic and told they are not. That’s why it’s vital to have an idea of how autistic assessments should look like.

How can you know if the clinician is adhering to best practices for autistic assessments?

Autism Evaluation

There is a wide range of screeners used by practitioners as the first step of autism evaluation. There are questionnaires for the parents to fill among other assessments. An M-CHAT is one assessment that is employed to get red flags. It asks of behaviors that could show autism.

A STAT is another screener that is used to evaluate behavioral patterns that could indicate autism. It is more detailed than an M-CHAT. It is used to point out children that require further evaluation. However, screener results shouldn’t be considered as a diagnosis.

Social communication issues

Difficulties in social interactions and communication are some of the things flagged as probable signs of autism. If a child is having a problem with basic sentence formulation, it could be a possible autism sign. A child could have communication issue and get withdrawn from peers. It may look like a normal issue but could be an issue of a different nature. To get the right diagnosis needs intense gathering and interpreting of a lot of data about the child. It is recommended that a child gets an assessment beyond screening and diagnostic tools. This is vital before arriving at a diagnosis.

Interviews

Diagnostic tool and screeners are vital in information gathering. But other information from an adult who knows more about the child might be needed. There is a thorough interview with the parents covering development concerns. It probes ASD-related signs. It is vital to get this early development data through the interview. In some cases, a child might have had obvious signs of autism that subsided. Having this information helps in making a better diagnosis. A conversation or a filled-out questionnaire with the child’s teacher might be needed. This gives a firsthand insight into what is observed at school and not at home.

Finding a qualified practitioner provides all the answers to your questions and makes you feel comfortable. It should be a clinician that addresses your concerns seriously. A clinician who is experienced in autistic assessments is essential to have an accurate diagnosis.