A Parent’s Perspective: How to get an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Yet your proximity to them may limit your ability to have an unbiased opinion of their development. If you suspect your child has autism, it can become a mind game of talking yourself in or out of your suspicions depending on each little behavior they have or milestones they meet or don’t. There comes a point when you will need the help of professionals.
Where do you start? I know it can be hard. Not only is it emotionally difficult to process the differences you see in your child, but getting an autism diagnosis is not straightforward. It often doesn’t go as smoothly as one might hope.
This blog post explains the basic process of getting an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, whether through your medical provider, the school system, or even with the help of ABA Connect. We will discuss the first steps you can take and what to expect during testing. But first, know that whatever the outcome, you’ve got this! Your love for your child will help you overcome any fears you may be facing.
The medical route of getting an ASD diagnosis
Typically, when a parent is seeking an autism diagnosis, they rightly start by conversing with their pediatrician. Alternatively, your child’s doctor might approach you, suggesting that your child may be showing signs of autism. That’s what happened to me.
My son has a rare genetic syndrome that manifests in various ways. One of those ways is similar to that of ASD. For years, I was in denial about his autistic tendencies because his medical complications overshadowed his developmental delays and repetitive behaviors. In spite of my denial, my son’s pediatrician gently encouraged me to consider testing him for autism. I’m so glad we did. The services we’ve received as a result, especially ABA, have been life-changing. Without a doubt, if we had not agreed to get help, there would have been so many developmental hurdles, inappropriate behaviors, and unmet expectations that we would still be struggling through.
If you decide to reach out to your child’s pediatrician with concerns, they will often refer your child to a developmental pediatrician, neurologist, or neuropsychologist for a formal diagnosis. These specialists administer the diagnostic testing required to determine whether or not your child has autism.
Unfortunately, these specialists are in high demand. And it often takes waiting, sometimes more than six months, to get an appointment. If your child is struggling in school or needs early intervention, time is of the essence.
The educational process of getting an ASD diagnosis
Another way to get an autism diagnosis is through your local school district. This diagnosis, however, is only for the purposes of your child’s education. For many kids, it is all they need to help with very specific goals at school. Be aware that a school providing an autism diagnosis only informs the Individual Education Plan (IEP), which outlines the accommodations and support services your child receives at school. It does not qualify as a verifiable diagnosis if you were to seek therapy services through an insurance carrier.
Securing an autism diagnosis with the help of ABA Connect
Some ABA providers like ABA Connect can help expedite testing your child so they can start services more quickly. You still will need to provide a doctor’s order and the doctor will ultimately diagnose, or not diagnose, your child.
If you suspect your child may have autism but are struggling to get a diagnosis, ABA Connect can help!
ABA Connect provides autism testing for prospective clients. The primary test they administer is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2), which aids in diagnosing and assessing the severity of symptoms in children aged six years and younger. They have three experienced ADOS administrators on staff in Austin, Houston, and Dallas, all licensed to conduct the necessary testing for determining if a child meets the requirements of an ASD diagnosis. It’s important to note you still need a doctor’s involvement to go this route.
ABA Connect administers testing if you meet the following criteria:
Your child’s pediatrician agrees to write an order for autism testing.
You intend to start ABA services upon receiving a diagnosis.
What is the ADOS-2?
The ADOS-2 is a commonly used diagnostic tool to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It comprises five modules designed for individuals of varying ages and communication levels. The appropriate module is selected based on the child’s age and communication abilities and may require parental involvement. The ADOS-2 includes structured and semi-structured activities that assess communication, social interaction, and restricted and repetitive behaviors.
What should I expect during the ADS testing process?
Your child will participate in various fun activities during the assessment, which takes approximately an hour. Depending on the child’s age and communication level, you may be asked to join as a parent.
In addition to the standard ADOS-2, ABA Connect incorporates additional components into its testing process. They request that families complete the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) assessment and conduct the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2) examination. This supplementary testing provides ABA Connect and the families they serve with deeper insights into the child. Further testing helps ABA Connect therapists deliver the best treatment plan for each child’s needs.
After the evaluation, the clinician will answer questions and discuss the next steps with you. Then, the scored results and observations are sent to your doctor for review. Based on the results, your doctor will determine whether your child has met the criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Then, the doctor will write a referral to start ABA therapy as treatment for your child’s new diagnosis. If it’s determined your child doesn’t have autism, your pediatrician may offer other valuable resources to support you in the challenges you’re facing.
At ABA Connect, the therapists understand the significance of accurate diagnosis and timely intervention. If you are running up against roadblocks through the healthcare or education system in getting a timely diagnosis and want to start our ABA services quickly, this is an excellent option for you and your child. ABA Connect’s comprehensive testing process ensures clients receive a valid assessment and treatment plan baked by a thorough diagnostic process.
For more information about an ADOS-2 assessment, contact ABA Connect at 833-225-9393.
In your journey as a parent, it’s crucial to remember that seeking help for your child’s potential autism diagnosis is a significant step forward. While the path may have its challenges, you’re not alone. ABA Connect is here to provide guidance and support, offering a quicker route to the testing and ultimately delivering the services your child needs.
ABA Connect’s commitment lies in empowering children with autism through compassionate, play-based ABA therapy, guiding kids toward building essential life skills. Working together with parents and caregivers, they aim to significantly impact each child’s life, regardless of the diagnosis outcome.
Contact us today to schedule your child’s ADOS-2 assessment and take the first step toward getting the support you need.
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If you are interested in a positive, play-based approach to ABA, contact ABA Connect.
Please note that while I am a consultant writing on behalf of ABA Connect, my child is not a current client. The views and experiences shared in this blog post are entirely from a parent’s perspective. I aim to provide informative content and insights based on my personal experiences as well as interviews conducted with the staff at ABA Connect.