The type of autism evaluation your child will receive depends on your child’s age, medical history and your specific concerns. Your child will be scheduled with either a developmental pediatrician, a psychologist or with a team of professionals.
Developmental pediatrician or psychologist: Developmental pediatricians and psychologists are both qualified to make an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Our providers have extensive expertise with ASD and other medical and behavioral conditions. We aim to carefully distinguish ASD from other disorders and to support your family in getting the needed services and treatment.
What is the difference between a developmental pediatrician and a psychologist? Developmental pediatricians are medical doctors who have training in other genetic and medical conditions that might be associated with ASD. Thus, they will also do a physical exam in order to rule out other medical causes of your child’s difficulties.
Psychologists have extensive training in behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and mood and anxiety disorders, and can help differentiate ASD from other conditions.
What if your child needs a developmental pediatrician and a psychologist? The first provider you work with can help you determine all the specialty consults and referrals your child may need.
Your child’s autism evaluation with a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist may include:
During your child's autism evaluation, we will use at least one of the following ASD-specific assessments tools:
We will also use one of the following behavioral assessment tools during your child's autism evaluation:
You child may be scheduled for evaluation by a team of ASD experts. During a team evaluation your child is evaluated by several different professionals from different specialties at CHOP. The team may include a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, developmental pediatrician, psychologist and/or social worker.
Team evaluations are especially helpful for families with young children and for families who may not be able to access these other services separately. They are also beneficial for clinically complex cases.
Team evaluations are scheduled in the morning and last two to four hours. They often require a longer wait before scheduling as compared to evaluations by an individual developmental pediatrician or psychologist. The specific components of the team evaluation depend on your child’s specific areas of concerns, as well as whether your child has had recent evaluations in these areas.
Your child’s team evaluation may include:
After we have reviewed your child’s developmental history and test results, you will meet with a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist to review the results and ask any questions. This is a separate visit and is typically scheduled about a week after your child’s team evaluation. At this time, you may also meet with a speech-language pathologist and an occupational therapist if applicable.
If your child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we will give you information to help you learn about ASD and ensure you are on the right path to helping your child reach his or her full potential. We have workshops for families who have just recently received an ASD diagnosis. Social workers from our team can also answer questions about community resources.
We will likely ask to see your child again in a few months to hear about how he or she is responding to intervention. During this time, we will answer any new questions that you have thought of since your child’s evaluation.