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Assessment and Evaluation
Evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Autistic Disorder, and Asperger’s Syndrome, consist of standardized assessments, biopsychosocial assessments, review of previous medical documentation and records, and observations in the natural environment.
The process typically includes two office visits lasting approximately two hours each and two hour-long observations in the natural environment such as school, home, or community activities. After the observations and office visits are completed, and the standardized assessment measures are scored, the client and family meet with the therapist to receive a final diagnosis, report summary, and make a treatment plan.
The Adolescent Girl’s and Women’s Wellness initiative is to improve the range and quality of services and research opportunities addressing the needs of girls and women with ASD. Services will address education regarding menstrual cycle management, abuse detection and prevention, specialized gynecological and health care, development of self-esteem and personal care practices and positive social interactions among other things.
As one of the more unique offerings at the Center for Excellence in Autism (CFEA), the Adolescent Girl’s and Women’s Wellness Initiative was established to help lead the national effort to expand the range and quality of services and research opportunities addressing the needs of girls and women. Psycho-educational groups concentrate on building positive self-awareness and self-esteem, exploration of special interests and passions and developmentally-appropriate sexual education. Every participant in the program is provided with a customized Sexual Health Inventory and Education (SHINE) Plan that includes an inventory of relevant personal history, self-advocacy objectives, completed needs assessments and goals for future programming in all areas of functioning.
The CFEA boasts a “sensory friendly” Gynecological Wellness examination room with trained medical and behavioral staff to guide our guests through the choice of music or background noise, soft fabric linens and dim lighting to minimize the stressful nature of such a personal experience. It is our belief that all women including those with ASD and other developmental disabilities are entitled to comprehensive care throughout their lifetime.
The Center for Excellence in Autism features individual classes to address the documented needs of individuals age 10-25 such as self-regulation of behaviors, self-advocacy and problem-solving skills, recognition and adherence to social boundaries, personal hygiene and sexuality development, life skills, organizational skills/time management and causal attribution. Patterned after a university degree program, participants will be required to successfully advance through a series of required course and can then choose from a number of electives in order to graduate.
Skill-building groups will run on an ongoing eight-week schedule. We offer two different group tracks:
Global Skills University
A series of skill building classes based on The ECLIPSE Model that support development of independence and successful completion of daily life activities.
Adolescent Girl’s and Women’s Wellness Initiative
These groups focus on the development of positive self-concept, social competence, and self-advocacy skills, and responsible sexuality education that is developmentally appropriate.
Real Empowerment Strategies for Parents Embracing their Children’s Therapy is a new group offered to parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This educational group will help parents identify the immediate needs during stressful situations and implement support strategies to produce positive outcomes. We will be covering each week’s topic broadly, providing principles and strategies for all age groups.
Preschool Reinforcement, Adaptive, and Interactive Social Education is a group offered for preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This group focuses on building skills necessary for engaging with others including tolerance of others, self-regulation, and problem-solving. Through this group, children will have opportunities to practice group skills in a structured environment.
In order to begin skill-building groups, all clients are required to make an appointment for a group screening evaluation or diagnostic assessment. The group screening evaluation is a limited version of the diagnostic assessment, and does not include diagnosis. This two-hour evaluation includes administration of standardized assessments, review of clinical documentation, and creation of a treatment plan. Clients interested in a group screening evaluation must have a documented Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Autistic Disorder, or Asperger’s Syndrome, from a clinical source, not including a school IEP. If the client does not have a documented Autism Spectrum Disorder, please call to discuss alternatives to the group screening evaluation.
The Integrated Multidisciplinary Prevention of Autism and Co-occurring Trauma (IMPACT) Project is a new program that focuses on awareness, prevention, education, intervention, and research relating to Autism and Co-occurring Trauma. The IMPACT Project aims to better the lives of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders who have experienced a trauma.
Community-based services are offered to clients and families receiving services through the Center for Excellence in Autism. Community-based services include treatment plan implementation in the home and community, advocacy and collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams, linkages to community supports and services, and coordination of continuity of care. More specifically, support, education, and advocacy are provided for school IEP meetings, housing, vocational assistance, social support systems, and other areas as needed by each individual client. Community-based providers work directly with the therapist to reinforce consistency in implementing interventions and to ensure the skills targeted in therapy can be generalized to the home and community. Community-based providers also aim to support comprehensive collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams including school psychologists, teachers, psychiatrists, case workers, employers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians.
Referrals are made to assist in various other aspects of treatment. We can make referrals to many different providers including:
- School psychologists for standardized testing for school placements and IEPs
- Speech Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Psychiatrists for medication management
We also provide therapeutic services to parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, specifically those who have experienced trauma, and parents who themselves are on the Autism Spectrum.