Autism Spectrum Disorders
If you think you or your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the mental health professionals at the ApaCenter can help. Autism Spectrum Disorders, which includes Asperger’s Syndrome, are characterized by problems with social interactions, communication, a restricted range of interests, and repetitive behavioral patterns. An Autism Spectrum Disorder is a serious condition that affects approximately 1 out of 88 children and 6 out of 1000 people.
At the ApaCenter, our professionals have extensive expertise in helping children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our psychological assessments can determine whether you or your child has an ASD. We can distinguish ASD from the many other conditions that can include similar symptoms, such as weak receptive and expressive language skills, social anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and, in more extreme forms, mental retardation. In addition to assessments, we can provide therapy and behavioral interventions, including some within your home, to help improve functioning.
It is important to be aware that children and college students who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder are likely eligible for educational services and accommodations through special education or Section 504. Gaining access to such services and accommodations can be critical to meeting students’ academic needs and preserving self-esteem.
ApaCenter ASD Assessments will help:
- Identify specific strengths and weaknesses unique to each individual
- Recommend appropriate interventions to compensate for difficulties
- Rule out other difficulties that may be contributing to symptoms
- Help obtain appropriate school/college services
- Obtain greater self-understanding and validation of experiences
Although there is no single standardized test that can diagnose an autism spectrum disorder, a number of autism rating scales and structured interviews now exist that are helpful in determining the likelihood of such disorders. While assessments look for the main characteristics of an autism spectrum disorder (social impairment, communication difficulties, reliance on repetitive routines/ narrowness of interests), a comprehensive evaluation will assess the following areas of functioning through a combination of individualized standardized testing, self-report measures, behavioral checklists, interviews, and observations:
- Developmental and medical history
- Cognitive abilities and academic achievement
- Social competence and social perception
- Emotional and behavioral functioning
- Communication and language skills
- Perceptual-motor/visual-spatial ability
- Assessment of attention and memory as indicated
Therapy for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders
At the ApaCenter, we have several psychologists and other professionals who have specialized expertise in providing therapy for persons within the autism spectrum. We work with young children to adults to help improve social relationships, communication and social skills, and emotion recognition and regulation. We also have a behavior specialist, Ruthie Pace, who can provide in-home or at-school behavior support and guidance.
Please contact us at (512) 891-1500 if you have additional questions or would like to set up an appointment.