Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s social interaction, behaviour, communication and main interests. The epidemiology of ASD is unknown, however there may be a genetic or neurological component to it. Autism is a Spectrum of disorders that manifest differently from person to person. It impacts severity, independence (level of support needed) and performance. Due to these reasons, an autism assessment is extremely important. At Dynamics Psychological Practice we use Gold Standard Assessment tools and follow the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria to ensure accurate measurement of the different symptoms.

ASD or Autism

Symptoms and Signs of ASD:

  • Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder struggle in two main areas of function:
    • Social Communication.
    • Restricted and Repetitive patterns of behaviour.
  • Some symptoms include:
    • Deficit in social communication skills across different settings.
    • Struggling to make no eye contact.
    • Reduced/no interest in peers.
    • Difficulty interpreting and understanding the feelings and emotions of others.
    • Prefer a specific “routine” and can have anxiety or tantrums when this order is disrupted.

The complete diagnostic criteria according to DSM-5 can be found on https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html

Diagnosis and Early Intervention:

To help a child with autism it is important to make a diagnosis as early as possible. There is no known 'cure'. However, early intervention (speech therapy, occupational therapy, special education and behaviour support) makes a significant difference. Early intervention at a young age can help develop a child in new skill sets, manage behaviour problems and help the child develop as much independence as possible.

Autism Assessment:

At Dynamics Therapy Centre for Kids, we use a variety of assessment tools to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social Communication Disorder. It is important to cover a few areas when testing for these disorders in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2nd Edition):

ADOS-2 is the gold standard assessment designed to diagnose Autism.

ADOS-2 is a standardized, semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction and play for individuals who may have autism or Social Communication type of disorders. The ADOS-2 assessment consists of standardized activities that allow the examiner to observe behaviors identified as important in children with autism spectrum disorders. Structured activities and materials provide standard contexts in which social interactions, communication and other behaviors relevant to pervasive developmental disorders are likely to appear.

We administer ADOS-2 assessment to children, as part of an Autism assessment package which includes IQ testing and/or adaptive behavior scale, clinical observations and parent/teacher reports questionnaires. This assessment allows us to diagnose autism, and to indicate where on the spectrum the child is. Furthermore, the advantages of this test is that it allows us to examine and assess toddlers from the age of 18 month to 36 months and determine if they are at risk of being diagnosed with Autism when they are older.

Importance of Diagnosis:

  • Placement in autism-specific schools.
  • Establish baseline for intervention (e.g. repeating the ADOS-2 test after intervention can show improvement along the spectrum).
  • Eliminate or confirm Autism Spectrum Disorder for suspected cases (Can be used as a differential diagnosis, especially for shy children or children with verbal difficulties).