Autism Diagnostic Assessment

At ABA Connect, our licensed psychologist, Dr. Mariel Cannady can perform an assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for children ages 2-10. Dr. Cannady uses a combination of diagnostic tools to provide a valid assessment of ASD based on well-researched procedures.  The assessment typically includes the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2). The ADOS-2 is considered a “gold standard” diagnostic instrument when it is administered by a trained professional. Depending on the age of the child, direct measures of cognitive abilities may be administered.

What is the assessment process like?
The assessment will include a parent interview, completion of standardized behavioral and developmental assessments, and a review of relevant records. Dr. Cannady will directly interact with your child through play-based activities designed to assess social communication behaviors. This is a non-evasive method and most children find the process to be fun. Depending on the child’s age, parents may be asked to participate in the activities to help provide the best results.

What will happen after my child’s testing?
After the testing, Dr. Cannady will score the caregiver assessments and standardized direct observation measures she used during the testing session. She will then interpret the information and write a report detailing her observations, the results, diagnosis (if applicable), and recommendations for going forward.

When will I receive the results?
An assessment feedback will be scheduled with caregivers to discuss the assessment results. During the feedback session, Dr. Cannady will go over the results, recommendations and answer questions you may have about the results. Typically within 3 weeks of your testing appointment, you will be provided a full, written report that can help you access intervention services for your child.

Why see a licensed psychologist for a diagnosis?
Only a licensed psychologist or licensed physician such as a pediatrician, psychiatrist, or neurologist has the ability to provide a clinical diagnosis of autism that is accepted by insurance to access intervention services. Typically a licensed psychologist provides a more comprehensive evaluation of the child’s strengths and weaknesses that includes a cognitive assessment, as well as standardized play-based observations and adaptive behavior assessments.

Dr. Cannady works directly with your child and family through the entire process and is here to guide you by answering the very important questions that you may have. She is also a school psychologist with experience working in the schools so she can help you advocate for educational services.

It is important to know that if you have or seek a diagnosis that is not provided by a licensed psychologist or physician, it may delay proper intervention for your child.