Assessments

The Autism Foundation of Tennessee cannot diagnosis an individual, but we do perform the same assessments that lead to a diagnosis. We can perform these diagnostic tools and provide you with a report. You can take that report to your child’s primary care physician and attempt to receive a diagnosis. The BCBA conducting the assessments has received the training to be able to administer them.¬†

This assessment package will include:

  • Completion of all applicable assessments for your child.
  • A complete report of all results.
  • A consultation with parents about the results and where to go from this point.
  • A consultation with your child’s primary care physician if necessary.

The assessment package and individualized treatment plan will include:

  • All of the information mentioned above.
  • In addition, an individualized treatment plan and behavior support plan

*Assessments will be chosen based on the age of your child.

Below is a list with descriptions of the assessments conducted at the Autism Foundation of Tennessee. (Please note all descriptions were gathered from Western Psychologocial Services)

1. AUTISM DIAGNOSTIC INTERVIEW, REVISED (ADI-R)

–Developed by Michael Rutter, M.D., FRS, Ann LeCouteur, M.B.B.S., and Catherine Lord, Ph.D. The ADI-R has been used in research for decades and is a comprehensive interview that provides a thorough assessment of individuals suspected of having autism or other autism spectrum disorders. The ADI-R has proven to be highly useful for formal diagnosis information as well as treatment and educational planning. The interview can be used to assess both children and adults, as long as their mental age is above 2 years, 0 months of age.

–Because the ADI-R is an interview rather than a test, and because it focuses on behaviors that are rare in non-affected individuals, it provides categorical results rather than scales or norms. Results can be used to support a diagnosis of autism or to determine the clinical needs of various groups in which a high rate of autism spectrum disorders might be expected (e.g., individuals with severe language impairments or certain medical conditions, children with congenital blindness, and youngsters suffering from institutional deprivation). The ADI-R has proven very effective in differentiating autism from other developmental disorders and in assessing syndrome boundaries, identifying new subgroups, and symptoms of autism. Extensive use of the ADI-R in the international research community has provided strong evidence of the reliability and validity of its categorical results.

–The ADI-R is composed of 93 items and focuses on three functional domains. 1.) Language/Communication, 2.) Reciprocal Social Interactions, and 3.) Restricted, Repetitive, and Stereotyped Behaviors and Interests.

2. AUTISM DIAGNOSTIC OBSERVATION SCHEDULE (ADOS)

–Developed by Catherine Lord, Ph.D., Michael Rutter, M.D., FRS, Pamela C. DiLavore, Ph.D., and Susan Risi, Ph.D.

–This semi-structured assessment can be used to evaluate almost anyone suspected of having autism–from toddlers to adults, from children with no speech to adults who are verbally fluent. The ADOS includes four modules, each requiring just 35 to 40 minutes to administer. The individual being evaluated is given just one module, depending on his or her expressive language level and chronological age. Following guidance provided in the manual, you select the appropriate module for each person. Module 1 is used with children who do not consistently use phrase speech, Module 2 with those who use phrase speech but are not verbally fluent, Module 3 with fluent children, and Module 4 with fluent adolescents and adults. The one group within the autism spectrum that the ADOS does not address is nonverbal adolescents and adults. These activities provide a 30- to 45-minute observation period full of opportunities for the examinee to exhibit behaviors relevant to a diagnosis of autism or PDD. As you administer the ADOS, you record your observations, then code them later and formulate a diagnosis. Cut-off scores are provided for both the broader diagnosis of PDD/atypical autism/autism spectrum, as well as the traditional, narrower conceptualization of autism. Offering standardized materials and ratings, the ADOS gives you a measure of autism spectrum disorder that is unaffected by language. Because it can be used with a wide range of children and adults, it is a cost-effective addition to any hospital, clinic, or school that serves individuals with developmental disorders.

3. ASSESSMENT OF BASIC LANGUAGE AND LEARNING SKILLS-REVISED (ABLLS-R)

–Developed by James W. Partington, Ph.D., BCBA

–The ABLLS-R is an assessment, curriculum guide, and skills tracking system for use with children who have autism or other developmental disabilities. It allows you to identify deficiencies in language, academic, self-help, and motor skills and then implement and monitor individualized intervention. Appropriate for children 3 to 9 years of age, the ABLLS-R includes two components: the Assessment Protocol and the Scoring Instructions and IEP Development Guide. The Protocol provides precise, criterion-referenced information about a child’s existing skills and the conditions under which the child uses these skills. It also identifies weaknesses that prevent the child from learning new skills, taking into account the child’s motivation to respond, ability to attend to complex environmental stimuli, ability to generalize skills, and tendency to spontaneously use those skills. With a particular emphasis on language skills, the ABLLS-R gives you assessment, intervention, and skills tracking in one convenient package.

4. FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT (FBA)

–The purpose of this section of the assessment is to identify the variables maintaining the behavior. The BCBA evaluating child will conduct two interview forms to assess your concerns and functions of the behavior. The two interview forms used prior to conducting the direct observation portion of the FBA are the Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavior Function (QABF). After this is completed the BCBA will assess the behavior problems while working with your child on a variety of tasks. This will be paired with the implementation of the ABLLS, because the ABLLS asks the child to follow instructions and complete demanding tasks. After completing the FBA the BCBA will be able to develop a behavior support plan to increase appropriate behaviors while decreasing inappropriate behaviors.

5. GILLIAM AUTISM RATING SCALE: SECOND EDITION (GARS – 2)

–Developed by James E. Gilliam.

–This revision of the popular Gilliam Autism Rating Scale is a norm-referenced instrument that assists teachers, parents, and clinicians in identifying and diagnosing autism in individuals aged 3 through 22 and in estimating the severity of the disorder. Using objective, frequency-based ratings, the GARS-2 can be individually administered in 5 to 10 minutes. The assessment consists of 42 clearly stated items describing the characteristic behaviors of persons with autism. The items are grouped into three subscales: 1.) Stereotyped Behaviors, 2.) Communication, and 3.) Social Interaction.

6. SOCIAL COMMUNICATION QUESTIONNAIRE (SCQ)

–Developed by Michael Rutter, M.D., FRS, Anthony Bailey, M.D., and Catherine Lord, Ph.D.

–Previously known as the Autism Screening Questionnaire (ASQ), this brief instrument helps evaluate communication skills and social functioning in children who may have autism or autism spectrum disorders. Completed by a parent or other primary caregiver in less than 10 minutes, the SCQ is a cost-effective way to determine whether an individual should be referred for a complete diagnostic evaluation. The questionnaire can be used to evaluate anyone over age 4.0, as long as his or her mental age exceeds 2.0 years. It is available in two forms–Lifetime and Current–each composed of just 40 yes-or-no questions. Both forms can be given directly to the parent, who can answer the questions without supervision.

7. SOCIAL RESPONSIVENESS SCALE (SRS)

–Developed by John N. Constantino, M.D.

–This 65-item rating scale measures the severity of autism spectrum symptoms as they occur in natural social settings. Completed by a parent or teacher in just 15 to 20 minutes, the SRS provides a clear picture of a child’s social impairments, assessing social awareness, social information processing, capacity for reciprocal social communication, social anxiety/avoidance, and autistic preoccupations and traits. It is appropriate for use with children from 4 to 18 years of age.

–Severity of Social Impairment: the SRS measures impairment on a quantitative scale across a wide range of severity–which is consistent with recent research indicating that autism is best conceptualized as a spectrum condition rather than an all-or-nothing diagnosis. This is important because even mild degrees of impairment can have significant adverse effects on social functioning.