Information About Diagnostic
Evaluations Offered At
The Children's Annex
What is our goal in offering diagnostic evaluations?
Our goal is to use state-of-the-art techniques which are employed by trained professionals with expertise in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) to provide a thorough diagnostic assessment to individuals with known or suspected disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS).
What is the purpose of a diagnostic evaluation?
1. To obtain or rule out a diagnosis of a developmental disorder.
2. To have a thorough assessment of where an individual falls along the autism spectrum, including strengths and weaknesses in the areas of social and communication skills as well as unusual interests or behaviors.
3. To gain an understanding of the individual’s intellectual potential.
4. To help develop a treatment/educational plan geared toward the individual’s needs.
5. To educate the family about the individual’s needs.
6. To help identify appropriate support services for the family.
What does the diagnostic evaluation entail?
1. A comprehensive interview with parents or caregivers using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). The ADI-R is a formal, diagnostic instrument conducted by a trained professional that is designed to elicit a full range of information needed to produce or rule out a diagnosis of an ASD. The ADI-R usually takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to administer. The ADI-R, along with the ADOS, (described below) are considered the “gold standard” of diagnostic instruments in the field of ASDs.
2. A standardized observational assessment of the individual’s communication, socialization and play/creativity along with other behaviors characteristic of ASDs. This assessment is called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes.
3. A developmental evaluation of the individual using standardized tests of cognition, language and nonverbal abilities.
4. Academic skills assessment (when appropriate).
5. When possible, a school visit, to observe the individual in the school environment and to meet with involved school professionals.
6. Discussion of findings and recommendations with parents and school staff.
What will happen at the appointments?
The first appointment is used to complete the ADI-R (the parent interview.) You should NOT bring your child to this appointment. This appointment generally lasts 1 ½ to 2 hours. The second appointment will involve formal testing of your child with those instruments listed above. This appointment may last up to 2 hours, depending on the age of the child and his or her needs. We generally ask parents to bring along a snack for the child for one of the testing breaks. We try to be sensitive to the needs of each child and so may divide the testing into more than one session. After these appointments, the evaluator will try to schedule a time to observe your child in his or her school setting. Finally, once the evaluation is complete, a parent feedback session will be scheduled; this session usually lasts about an hour.
What do I bring to the first appointment?
If they have not been sent prior to the evaluation, please bring copies of the questionnaires that we sent to you, along with any previous assessments that may have been conducted, school reports, an IEP and any other information that you feel may be relevant. It may be helpful to review baby books or home records prior to your appointment as there will be several questions about when your child obtained various developmental milestones (e.g., walking, talking, toileting.)
What if I need to cancel an appointment?
If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, we request that you do so 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment time.
The cost of a complete diagnostic evaluation is $2,000.
We do not accept third party payments.
Private payment must be received before the completion of the evaluation.
Resources: Diagnostic Evaluations
For free information on developmental milestones, tools to track your child's developments, and resources about developmental problems and developmental screening, visit www.cdc.gov/actearly
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