The Deal With Fort Myers ADOS Testing: FOCUS ABA Therapy for Autism Starts With ADOS
This year, FOCUS began offering Fort Myers ADOS testing to help families obtain an autism diagnosis as soon as possible, helping to facilitate early intervention treatment for children as young as 18 months.
Autism spectrum disorder is an increasingly common lifelong condition characterized by social and communication deficits that can mildly or significantly impede one’s ability to function in daily life. There is no “cure” for autism, and neither do we know exactly what causes it. Plus, there is no blood or genetic testing we can run to give us a for-sure answer. All this makes timely, accurate diagnosis of autism difficult.
What we can say is this: An early autism diagnosis, followed by a combination of intensive speech, behavioral (ABA) and occupational therapy has proven the most effective when it comes to the best long-term prognoses. In other words:
The sooner autism is identified and diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated – and the better chance your child has at a happy, healthy, independent life.
Most children with autism display clear signs prior to age 2. This is the best time to intervene.
The Process of Diagnosing Autism
“ADOS” stands for “Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.”
The Autism Manual, developed by Western Psychological Services, explains the ADOS is a comprehensive but semi-structured evaluation that examine’s a child’s ability to communicate, interact socially and play and then compares that to the development of children their same age.
Fort Myers ADOS testing is the second of a three-part process in autism diagnostics, that includes:
- Developmental screening.
- ADOS testing.
- Autism diagnosis.
The developmental screening is basically a short test that tells whether a child is learning the basic skills they should or if they have any delays. Of course, as our ABA therapists can explain, all children develop at their own pace. However, we tell parents to trust their gut instinct because a “wait-and-see” approach is often the worst thing you can do if it turns out your child does in fact have autism, as 1 in 57 children now do, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During a developmental screening, the physician may ask parents some questions or have them fill out a checklist before spending time talking and playing with the child. They’ll be watching for how well the child speaks, behaves, moves and learns. A delay in any of these areas may signal a problem. These screenings can take place during regular well visits, so if you have concern, speak up.
The CDC recommends all children be screened specifically for ASD at 18 months, 24 months and beyond if any concern was previously raised. Children who were born preterm, with low birth weight or a sibling with autism may be at higher risk.
If red flags are raised, the next step is a comprehensive evaluation. ADOS testing is the most common type of comprehensive evaluation, considered “the gold standard.”
The ADOS test will then be used by a specialist, like a psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist, who will consider those results as well as their own observations and parental questionnaires to make an autism diagnosis.
How Fort Myers ADOS Testing Helps Identify a Child’s Risk of Autism
It’s highly recommended that the ADOS be done by someone who is specially trained to administer and score it. FOCUS has several professionals trained and well-qualified to conduct Fort Myers ADOS testing.
It’s set up to have both structured and unstructured interaction so the examiner can assess various behaviors of interest in as natural a way as possible. Some behaviors for which the examiner might be watching:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Not responding to his/her name (appearing to be deaf)
- Not playing “pretend” games
- Not pointing to objects or demonstrating interest in things children their age commonly are
- Trouble understanding or showing other people’s feelings or their own
- No speech or delayed speech
- Repetition of words or phrases
- Giving answers unrelated to a question (if verbal)
- Obsessive interests
- Tantrums over minor changes
- Rocking, spinning or flapping
- Unusual overreactions to sensory stimuli
- Resistance of physical contact (or seeking excess physical contact)
- Having little to no safety/danger awareness
Primarily, the Fort Myers ADOS testing examiner is looking at social behavior and communication, so they’ll set up several scenarios for that to occur. There is less emphasis on screening for cognitive disabilities, though that may be observed and noted too.
The ADOS test is one of the best tools we have in early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, it can be expensive, but it’s usually covered by insurers, as it is recognized as standard treatment.
Our ABA therapists welcome any questions you may have about developmental screening, ADOS testing or autism diagnosis.
For more information on Fort Myers ADOS testing at FOCUS or to schedule an appointment, call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.