Autism Services Lancaster Pa
The primary Autism services offered at New Day is Assessment and Diagnosis. The first essential step that must be taken when an Autism Spectrum Disorder is expected is a thorough assessment and obtaining an accurate diagnosis. This is Dr. Carey’s specialty. All persons referred to New Day seeking an initial diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder or the confirmation of an Autism Spectrum Disorder will be assessed only by Dr. Carey and he will complete all of the assessment steps necessary during this process.
The Assessment Process
A diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder involves a clinical assessment, behavioral observations, and in some cases, formalized testing.
A Clinical Assessment of an Autism Spectrum Disorder needs to be conducted by a skilled, experienced clinician. This process involves the gathering of detailed information involving the individual’s developmental history, family history, medical history, social history, and current functioning across all of these areas. The clinical assessment is the cornerstone of the assessment process for a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder and should be conducted by an individual that is trained, skilled, and experienced in understanding the types of questions to ask and recognizing the features that are characteristic of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Carey has years of experience in assessing child and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and is highly skilled in conducting quality clinical assessments leading to an accurate diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Behavioral Observations involve the careful and thorough observation of the individual being assessed. This occurs during the clinical assessment as well as during formalized testing, if this is recommended to occur. This occurs naturally, such as observing the child without direct interaction by the clinician, as well as via direct interaction by the clinician, such as engaging in play, social interactions, and communication with the individual. In order for behavioral observations to be meaningful the clinician must be skilled to recognize pertinent behaviors observed and to interpret these correctly. Dr. Carey has observed individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a variety of situations for several years and is fully trained and skilled to recognize pertinent behaviors and to determine if these behaviors are characteristic of an Autism Spectrum Disorder or if they are related to other conditions.
Formalized Testing involves the gathering of qualitative data, which are basically numbers that compare the individual with others who are known to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This level of assessment is necessary in certain situations. If the individual is exhibiting features that are characteristic of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, but these are quite mild, or it is speculated that they may be related to another condition, testing may be recommended to make a more accurate determination of the correct diagnosis. Testing may be recommended as a means to provide better and more meaningful treatment recommendations as testing may tease out specific areas of need. In some cases, parents, family members, or other professionals may desire testing be conducted for the confirmation of a previously assigned diagnosis.
At New Day, if formalized testing is desired deemed necessary, Dr. Carey will use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), which is a highly recognized assessment tool used in the diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as a means to provide thorough treatment recommendations. In many cases, the use of Intelligence Testing may also be recommended. This may be due to the suspicion that the Autism Spectrum Disorder may be accompanied by an Intellectual Disability. It is known that about 50% of persons with an Autism Spectrum Disorder also have a comorbid diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability. This testing is important as the diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability will provide the individual access to additional funding and services. The diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability also will have an impact on the person’s treatment and therefore needs to be diagnosed and included in the treatment plan. In conjunction with Intelligence Testing, Adaptive Testing will also be conducted as adaptive abilities must be assessed in conjunction with Intelligence to determine the diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability. At New Day, Dr. Carey has the resources to conduct Intelligence Testing and Adaptive Testing to persons of all ages. Use of the ADOS and/or Intelligence/Adaptive Testing will be recommended by Dr. Carey if he believes this is a necessary component of the assessment process.
After all assessments have been conducted, Dr. Carey will review all of the data and create a comprehensive report outlining the findings in detail in readable, understandable language. Reports will be provided in no more than one week after the assessment is completed. Those directly involved with the child will be able to review these results in person with Dr. Carey if they desire. The written report will be provided to those for whom consent has been obtained. The report will include Dr. Carey’s diagnostic conclusions. At the present time, the diagnoses of all mental health disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities, are recorded in two formats – The International Classification of Disease – 10th Edition (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Both formats will be recorded in the report and the meaning of these diagnoses will be explained, in detail, in the report. The report will also include detailed, personalized, treatment recommendations. Dr. Carey will provide assistance with finding the resources necessary to carry out the treatment recommendations and will provide the education necessary to understand the diagnosis(es), the treatments available, and how to navigate the Mental Health/Intellectual Disability systems in order to obtain the services needed.
After the Assessment
Once the described Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment has been completed, there will not be a need for the individual to have any further testing related to an Autism Spectrum Disorder unless Dr. Carey specifically indicates that this is necessary. Autism Spectrum Disorders are life long conditions and the diagnosis itself will not change with time. As Dr. Carey’s assessment of the Autism Spectrum Disorder will be thorough and comprehensive, no further assessment/testing will be need to confirm the diagnosis. If the diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability has been made, retesting may be recommended in the future under some conditions. However, in many circumstances, retesting of intellectual functioning will not be necessary. Dr. Carey will indicate the need for further testing in this regard if it is deemed necessary.
We are here to answer any questions you have about our Autism Services.