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Comprehensive Evaluation for Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder

Happy childrenIf you suspect that your child has an autism spectrum disorder, or your child’s pediatrician or teacher has raised concerns, you need answers. The last thing you want is to wait months for an appointment. You may be feeling confused and overwhelmed. You want to understand what’s going on with your child and begin treatment as soon as possible.

In University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital's Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology, we understand how you are feeling and we want to help. We recognize the stress and uncertainty you may be experiencing as you look for answers, so our program utilizes an autism patient navigator model to support your entire family through the process.

Autism Assessment and Diagnosis

The Rainbow Autism Center uses a two stage screening and diagnostic process to aid families in getting the help they need more quickly. When you call for an assessment appointment, we’ll send you an initial screening you can complete at home. No one knows your child as well as you do, and the information you share with us about your child’s growth, development, and behaviors is invaluable in the diagnostic process. You may also want to provide information from your child’s pediatrician and school or daycare.

As soon as you return your screening paperwork to us, you will be scheduled for a comprehensive team evaluation in the Rainbow Autism Diagnostic Clinic. Following your appointment, a multidisciplinary group of psychologists, neuropsychologists and developmental pediatricians will meet to analyze and interpret results and we will schedule a follow up appointment with you to discuss the findings and next steps.

Team Evaluation

Testing may last most of the day and includes assessment of early childhood development and age- and developmentally appropriate evaluation of cognitive domains, including:

  • Attention and concentration
  • Verbal and visual memory
  • Auditory and visual processing
  • Visual-spatial functioning
  • Language and reading skills
  • Sensory development
  • Sensory integration
  • Gross and fine motor development
  • Social skill development
  • Executive functioning
  • Emotional and personality development
  • Behavioral functioning

At the Rainbow Autism Center, testing is conducted by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, neuropsychologists, and developmental pediatricians who administers tests and interprets results. Before you leave, you will schedule a follow-up appointment with a developmental-behavioral pediatrician or neuropsychologist to discuss testing results and answer your families' questions.

If your child receives an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, our team will work with your family to help you understand what to expect for your child’s future and establish a care plan.

If it’s determined that your child’s behaviors and development fall on the normal spectrum of child development, we can work with you to identify tools and strategies for handling the behaviors and issues that concern you.

If your child does not receive an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis but other behavioral, developmental or genetic issues are identified, you’ll be referred to the appropriate specialty area in Rainbow for more help.

If My Child Receives an ASD Diagnosis, What Happens Next?

If your child receives an autism diagnosis, you will likely have a lot of questions and concerns. You will consult with a developmental-behavioral pediatrician or neuropsychologist in Rainbow’s Autism Center to discuss testing results, answer your questions, and establish a care plan.

Rainbow’s autism patient navigator will work closely with your family to help connect you with the resources that will give your child the best possible short- and long-term outcomes. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can benefit from intensive behavioral therapies and medication management. Children may also benefit from occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other support services. Counseling and support for children with ASD, families and siblings can also help improve patient outcomes and family functioning.

To learn more about the diagnostic process and how to schedule a new patient developmental assessment, call 216-844-7700.