IN THIS SECTIONWhat is a standardized
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Diagnostics and Assessments
If you are worried that your child is not meeting developmental milestones or is having difficulty in certain areas, assessment may provide the answers you are looking for. Assessment can help determine appropriate therapies, document progress, or indicate placement for a child with an existing diagnosis.
Assessments and Diagnostics
Assessment is a comprehensive process of gathering information about a child’s strengths and challenges in different areas. Assessments conducted by a psychologist typically involve reviewing available records, making observations, interviewing the parent and/or child, and administering testing measures. Sometimes referrals to other multidisciplinary clinicians are made, such as a physician, speech, occupational, or physical therapist. Once the necessary information is gathered, results are interpreted in a comprehensive report that includes diagnoses and recommendations. A follow-up session is usually scheduled with the parent(s) to review results, recommendations, and to answer questions. Assessments conducted at the The Johnson Center are completed by a licensed psychologist, and typically take a few scheduled appointments.
A diagnostic assessment involves formal testing methods that are used to ascertain or rule out different diagnoses. The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development provides diagnostic assessment services for the evaluation of autism spectrum and other developmental disorders. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) are two measures used in this category of assessment. The ADOS involves interactive, play-based activities that provide the opportunity to observe the presence or absence of specific behaviors related to autism spectrum disorders. The ADI-R is a detailed parent interview. The ADOS and ADI-R are considered “gold standard” assessment measures in the evaluation of autism spectrum disorders. Diagnostic assessments can also evaluate the presence of other developmental, behavioral, emotional, and attention deficit disorders.
Another type of assessment is referred to as a comprehensive assessment or evaluation. It can be used to determine a child or adolescent’s unique strengths and weaknesses to aid in treatment planning and educational services. This type of comprehensive assessment evaluates a wide range of areas of functioning often including:
• learning and academic
• developmental progress
• self-help skills
• social skills
• behavior functioning
A psychologist selects specific tests to evaluate these areas based on the child’s unique symptoms. This provides valuable information about the child’s profile of skills, aiding in formulation of specific treatment and educational/learning goals.
If your child is showing signs of abnormal development or other behavioral or emotional symptoms, it is strongly encouraged that they be evaluated by a clinician. Early assessment and diagnosis is a critical first step in starting appropriate intervention, and documentation of a diagnosis or disability is often required to obtain necessary services. If your child has already received a diagnosis, it is recommended that they be reevaluated regularly, every one to three years. Regular assessment helps to continuously define and revise treatment and educational goals. It can also provide objective information on your child’s successes and response to treatment, as well as identify areas needing further attention.