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I'm Meghan Miller of the University of California,
Davis MIND Institute, in Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
In this presentation, I'll be discussing
psychological assessment of autism spectrum disorder.
To give you an overview of what we'll be covering,
I'll first start off with describing some common reasons for referral.
Then I'll provide an overview of aspects of a comprehensive assessment,
as well as some general assessment administration guidelines.
I'll then discuss some specific aspects of assessment we might
be interested in when evaluating an individual with ASD,
including developmental and intellectual assessment,
adaptive skills, academic, psychiatric, and neuropsychological assessment.
Next, I'll end by discussing some common challenges
around the issues of differential diagnosis and co-morbidity,
as well as providing feedback to families.
Note that diagnosis of ASD is covered in a separate presentation.
One of the most common reasons for referral includes questions around diagnostic clarity.
For example, does my child have autism?
Other common referral questions focus on services planning and eligibility, such as,
what does my child need?
How can I best help my child?
Or does this student qualify for services?
Are they eligible for an individualized education plan?
Evaluating whether a child is making progress and
response to treatment is also a common reason for assessment.
The clinician's role when conducting
comprehensive assessments is not simply administering and scoring tests.
Rather, the clinician must use their knowledge base to integrate a range of information
and data, in order to answer specific questions and aid in making decisions.
This means that it's crucial to conduct
a thorough intake interview prior to the assessment in order to ensure that you're
aware of the referral questions and flexibly
selecting assessment tools that will adequately address these questions.
This information and data comes from many sources.
In addition to a thorough intake interview,
comprehensive assessments often include
a developmental or intelligence test, an adaptive measure,
a broadband measure of behavioral difficulties and psychiatric symptoms,
a narrowband measure of specific behavioral or psychiatric symptoms
directly relevant to the referral question and differential diagnosis
and, for ASD, often includes the administration of
the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale or ADOS,
the gold standard diagnostic tool.
The ADOS is covered separately in Dr. Fein's presentation in this series.