Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD): Clinical services

Who we serve: The Multidisciplinary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders staff specializes in evaluation, treatment, and advocacy for children of all ages with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or social learning disorders.

Services provided

Multidisciplinary Evaluation: Our multidisciplinary evaluation includes a review of medical and developmental histories; complete neuropsychological or developmental evaluation (see descriptions below) of cognitive, social, and adaptive functioning; comprehensive speech / language assessment of verbal and nonverbal communication skills; and standardized diagnostic assessment.  Our diagnostic services incorporate state-of-the-art, scientifically validated instruments.  A parent conference is held with all Team members present to discuss diagnosis, prognosis and recommendations for school placement, behavioral intervention and adjunct services. Treatment plans are developed in coordination with families, using the current empirical knowledge regarding the most effective treatment approaches.  Comprehensive reports including extensive school and therapy recommendations are provided.

Neuropsychological Evaluation: School age children without intellectual disability are comprehensively evaluated in terms of their cognitive, social and adaptive abilities.  We assess intellectual functioning, language, visual-spatial skills, attention, executive function, learning, memory, social problem solving and fine motor abilities.  Based on the resulting profile of the child’s strengths and weaknesses, detailed recommendations are made.  A written report of the evaluation findings and recommendations is provided.  School consultation, including attending school meetings and assisting with the development and implementation of educational plans, is available.  This service is available as a part of the Multidisciplinary Evaluations or as a stand-alone evaluation.

Developmental Evaluation: Children under 8 years of age who cannot complete a full neuropsychological evaluation (because of age or language limitations, for example), are comprehensively evaluated in terms of their cognitive, social and adaptive abilities.  We assess intellectual functioning, language, visual-spatial skills, fine motor abilities, social skills, and daily living.  Based on the resulting profile of the child’s strengths and weaknesses, detailed recommendations are made.  A written report of the evaluation findings and recommendations is provided.  School consultation, including attending school meetings and assisting with the development and implementation of educational plans, is available.

Early Diagnosis Evaluation: Children birth to 4 years of age can be seen for a brief (2 ½ hours) and targeted evaluation when there is concern regarding an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.

We use scientifically validated assessments to evaluate for symptoms of ASD and identify strengths and weakness in language and communication. These evaluations are conducted by a psychologist and speech/language pathologist. A written report of the evaluation findings and priority recommendations is provided.  We prioritize children under 3 for timely evaluations.

Speech Language Evaluation: Children ages birth to 18 are evaluated in terms of their speech and language abilities.  We assess the development of the mechanics of speech (e.g., articulation), the perception of language (e.g., phonological processing), language comprehension, and higher order language functioning, and the social use of language (e.g., pragmatics).  Based on the resulting profile of language development, detailed recommendations are made for therapeutic and environmental interventions.  A written report of the evaluation findings and recommendations is provided.  School consultation, including assistance in developing appropriate speech and language goals and the implementation of appropriate recommendations, is available.  This service is available as a part of the Multidisciplinary Evaluations or as a stand-alone evaluation.

Group Therapy: Groups are designed for children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.  Groups that may be offered include groups targeting social skills, executive functioning (flexibility, big picture thinking), anxiety, insight/self identity, and transition to adult/college life.  The topics covered in each group are designed to meet the specific needs and ages of the children enrolled.  Sample session topics have included:

  • How to host a play date, identifying and responding to emotional states
  • Handling teasing and bullying, developing strategies for making and maintaining friendships, teaching appropriate nonverbal communicationhow to develop and shift between Plan A and Plan B
  • Developing an understanding of the connection between thoughts, feelings, and action.

The format of all groups includes both direct instruction and role-playing activities, which allow participants to develop and practice skills.  Parents are provided with a curriculum and appropriate materials in order to facilitate continued practice in and generalization to the home and/or school settings.  For the groups with younger children, parents watch behind a one-way mirror so that they can encourage the same skills at home.

Psychiatric Services:  Psychiatric evaluation and consultation is available, to assist in the identification of other conditions, and the development of a complete biopsychosocial treatment plan.  Our child and adolescent psychiatrists also provide ongoing psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment.

Psychology Consultation and Therapeutic Services:  Family and individual therapy, behavior management consultation, school consultation and treatment planning is available from psychologists and neuropsychologists in the Center.

Speech and Language Therapy Services:  Speech and Language therapy is available for all ages and abilities of children with ASD.

Fee/Scheduling Information: Services provided by this Clinic may be covered in full or in part by insurance, depending on the contractual specifications.  Self-pay is accepted and a 50% discount is provided for families who pay in full at the time of service.  For questions about services, fees and to fill out an intake form to request services, contact the Center’s scheduling and insurance specialist, Christine Amerasinghe at (301) 765-5432.

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