Autism Testing and Diagnosis

What is the best test for diagnosing Autism?

One of the most widely used observation instruments for the assessment of autism is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2008). The ADOS-2 is a semistructured assessment of social interaction, communication, play, and imaginative use of materials for individuals who may have autism or other autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The ADOS-2 is a revision of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, which has been referred to as the gold standard observational assessment for diagnosing ASD.

How does it work?

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is one of the few standardized diagnostic measures that involves scoring direct observations of the child’s interactions and accounts for the developmental level and age of the child. It has the most empirical support among observation-based diagnostic assessment procedures for autism and is recommended in several best practice guidelines as an appropriate standardized diagnostic observation tool. The ADOS offers the practitioner a standardized observation of current social-communicative behavior with excellent interrater reliability, internal consistency and test–retest reliability on the item, domain and classification levels for autism and non-spectrum disorders.

Who performs the test and how long does it take?

At CPE Clinic, LLC, Dr. Michael Labellarte participates in the ADOS-2 test for families. He is highly skilled in differentiating between children with language delays and behavioral deficits versus those with Autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Labellarte is well versed in the medical approaches as well as the support and help parents need to raise children with ASD.

The ADOS-2 is performed in conjunction with a thorough neurobehavioral status examination, a full review of a child’s developmental and medical history, and an evaluation of a child’s cognitive and language abilities to consider differential diagnosis to rule out other causes of a child’s behavioral and social presentation.

The total time for the examination and testing is approximately three hours. Although there is a small break in the appointment for analysis of the data, the interpretation and results will be provided during the same appointment unless further evaluation is necessary to accurately make a diagnosis.

How quickly and where can I have this test done?

CPE Clinic, LLC and our partners can usually perform the test within two weeks of calling the office. There is no waiting list for this evaluation. Evaluations can be completed at our Baltimore location, and at the McArdle Center for Autism on Kent Island.

Will insurance cover the ADOS-2 test?

CPE Clinic, LLC does not participate with any insurance and is an out of network provider for all insurance companies. Since everyone’s insurance is slightly different, we encourage you to call your provider and ask for out of network reimbursement for the ADOS-2 test, which is often coded with a CPT code of 96111 and a 96116.

How old does my child have to be to be tested for Autism?

ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. We typically test children 4 and over with the ADOS.

Can medication help treat the behaviors of my autistic child?

Each child or adult with autism is unique and, so, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. Intervention can involve behavioral treatments, medicines or both. Medicines have a limited role in improving symptoms of autism. But some may help prevent self-injury and other behaviors that are causing difficulty. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors. Medicines may also take a child to a functional level at which he or she can benefit from other treatments.

Can social skills groups help someone with autism?

Social Groups are peer groups designed to strengthen the social interaction and communication skills of children, teens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. They are designed for children with ASD OR pragmatic language disorder who need support and assistance in relating to others. Pragmatic language is the non-verbal component of language including aspects of sarcasm. These groups are designed to strengthen awareness of visual cues, emotional responses, conversational skills such as turn taking and relating to another during conversation; it will also serve as a foundation of basic safety skills, such as knowing when others are teasing, avoiding, or are simply not interested in sustaining friendships, as well as how to respond to such situations/experiences.