My name is Julie Wolf.
I'm an Associate Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center.
I will be speaking with you today about "Assessment and Diagnosis
of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder", or ASD.
What do we mean by assessment?
Assessment is a comprehensive process by which
we understand an individual's strengths and weaknesses,
arrive at a clinical diagnosis,
and understand factors that may be contributing to their presentation.
Many people often equate the terms psychological testing with psychological assessment,
but in fact, testing is just one component of the assessment process.
The assessment process involves gathering data from a number of
different sources to most fully understand the individual.
The most comprehensive assessments are multi-disciplinary,
involving many procedures conducted by professionals with different areas of expertise.
These include psychologists, psychiatrists,
social workers, speech language pathologists,
and other medical professionals.
The evaluation typically includes a developmental history,
direct observation of the individual with particular focus on behaviors
relevant to the diagnosis of ASD, such as social communication and play,
psychological assessment, speech, language and communication assessment,
and other medical assessments.
Finally, data from all of these sources are brought
together to arrive at a diagnostic formulation.
This involves differentiating between ASD and other possible conditions,
as well as considering any co-morbid conditions that may be present.
Throughout this talk, I will be describing these components in more detail.