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Testing for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Testing |  Asperger's Disorder   |   Definition   |   NLD   

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When a client reports symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder, we use a comprehensive neuropsychological approach. Typical concerns for autism-spectrum disorders lie in these major areas:  

  • Language Deficits
  • Social Deficits
  • Narrowed Interests
  • Sensory Integration Problems

Pediatric neuropsychologists have a strong understanding of normal developmental stages in language and learning. This is especially important in assessing Autism because symptoms evolve over time. In addition to the complicated evolution of a disorder, adolescents and adults may mask, or compensate, for their weaknesses with psychiatric conditions including anxiety, depression, tics, or simple defensive responses.  

During the assessment, information must be gathered regarding current behavioral functioning, as well as early childhood development and the way a student has learned information. In autism spectrum disorders, language is often delayed but by the time they become adolescents, they may have a very sophisticated level of vocabulary or verbal understanding.  

Typically these children have difficulty with social engagement. By the time the child has become an adolescent, these subtle problems have been incorporated into their personality and they have compensated in personality and social development. They may be described as isolated, keeping to themselves, and having only a few friends.  

Neuropsychological Testing for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Neuropsychological testing evaluates all of the cognitive domains including:

  • Attention and Concentration
  • Verbal and Visual Memory
  • Auditory and Visual Processing
  • Visual Spatial Functioning
  • Language and Reading Skills
  • Sensory Development and Sensory Integration
  • Gross and Fine Motor Development
  • Social Skill Development
  • Executive Functioning
  • Emotional and Personality Development
  • Behavioral Functioning

When a client is seen, testing may take a full day and cause cognitive fatigue. A neuropsychologist is trained to consider immediate factors that affect attention during testing. For example, what part of the day the client is more inattentive, or if there were sleep or dietary issues on that particular day, as well as a host of other issues.   

The Testing Process - click here 

Why Neuropsychological Testing?

A standard psychological assessment has the capacity to diagnose a condition such as autism, but it lacks the specificity to understand what is causing the symptoms. As noted above, neuropsychological assessments evaluate a client with much great specificity.

Often we see clients as adolescents or adults, that have lived with these symptoms their entire life. Often they are unsure how testing may help. Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses, and an accurate diagnosis is important because conditions such as autism create a different learning style. When a person is not successeful or effective, it can affect their self confidence, which can lead to anxiety, depression, opposition, drug-use, etc. Knowing that there is a problem can lead to life changes for a client that has struggled but not known why.  

ASK US QUESTIONS or Make an Appointment

Feel free to contact us with your questions or to schedule an appointment for testing. We believe the problems that you are facing cannot wait months for an answer. This is why it is the NADC's policy to schedule clients within a month, or refer them to a clinician that can see them immediately. Contact us today to set an appointment, and we will send a preliminary questionnaire and make preparations for testing.