If you are concerned your child might be on the autism spectrum, you are right to seek answers as soon as possible. That’s because while there is no cure for autism, the most effective treatment with the best long-term outcomes – academically, socially-emotionally and in terms of independence – is a combination of early intervention services that includes ABA therapy. Yet few if any health insurers will cover these services (ABA therapy in particular) if a child does not have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
One of the first steps in the diagnostic process is an ADOS test.
Therapy & Wellness Connection offers ABA therapy after your child has undergone ADOS testing.
What is the ADOS Test?
“ADOS” stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. It’s a semi-structured, standardized test measuring the degree to which a child is considered at-risk for autism spectrum disorder.
Unlike a child with cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, there is no genetic test, no blood marker or brain scan that can tell us definitively whether a child has autism. Complicating matters is the fact that the autism spectrum itself is so vast, there can be fair dispute between professionals over whether a child meets the qualifications.
The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders sets the criteria for pediatric neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists to make an autism spectrum diagnosis, which affects 1 in 59 children and 1 in 38 boys.
Autism is a neuro-developmental condition characterized by:
- Trouble communicating and interacting with others.
- Interests that are restrictive and behaviors that are competitive.
- These and other symptoms that inhibit a person’s ability to function in school, work or other areas of life.
Autism isn’t even the only condition with some of these symptoms. For example, a young child with delayed speech who seems fairly uninterested in social interaction and appears to flit from one task to the next could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Or, the child could have both conditions (something clinicians refer to as “co-morbidity”).
The ADOS test is can help clinicians narrow it down, and it’s one of the best measures we have to do so.
The ADOS test analyzes:
- Social interaction
- Cognitive function
- Play/imaginative use of materials
- Other behaviors relevant to autism spectrum disorder.
People of all ages and developmental levels – adult to toddler, verbally fluent to lacking any speech at all – can be effectively assessed with the ADOS test. There is a play-based version for very young children, and there is a more advanced ADOS analysis for older teens and adults.
Does Scoring High on the ADOS Test Mean My Child Has Autism?
Not necessarily, but it’s a good indicator of a strong possibility. The final determination will be made by an expert physician, such as one who specializes in pediatric neurology, behavior or psychiatry. Having those test results in hand will help the doctor make the best choice. You’ll want to make sure you express your concerns and observations with that specialist as well.
You do not need a doctor’s referral for your child to undergo the ADOS test. Access to early intervention services, however, will likely require a physician referral (if you want insurance to pay for it).
Call our offices if you have any questions at all. We know this is an overwhelming time for a lot of families, and we’re happy to help walk you through the process.
Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – is a pediatric therapy center providing ABA therapy to children Northeast Ohio. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email. Serving Brecksville, Akron, Cleveland and surrounding communities in Northeast Ohio.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), National Institute for Mental Health
More Blog Entries:
Brecksville ABA Tips on Traveling With a Child Who Has Autism, May 7, 2019, Akron ABA Therapy Provider