Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurobehavioral disorder characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interactions and communication, and the presence of stereotypical patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. The onset of symptoms is typically before age 3. There is a wide range of impairment in the given domains as well as in the patterns of impairment in the given domains as well as in the pattern of impairments from one individual to the next. ASD no longer includes separate diagnoses for Asperger's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. Individuals formerly diagnosed with those conditions are included in ASD.
The first step in diagnosis is often a screening measure or set of observations by a medical doctor, psychologist, educator, or behavioral specialist. A screening measure alone is never sufficient for diagnosis. A thorough diagnostic evaluation includes a detailed historical interview, behavior observations, and standardized tests.
Carol Skinner, Ph.D. is an Ohio licensed psychologist with a background in assessment and diagnosis of ASD in children, adolescents, and adults. Her evaluations always start with an interview with the parents and/or client, the completion of a detailed developmental history form, and an array of behavior of behavior checklists. After the interview, Dr. Skinner will be able to determine what instruments will be included in her battery of standardized tests. Learning, attention and emotional disorders sometimes co-occur with ASD. Among other instruments, Dr. Skinner uses Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), considered "gold standard" autism assessment tools. The evaluation takes place over multiple sessions. After the evaluation is complete, there is a "feedback session" in which the findings are discussed and a written report is provided. If other professional services are required to clarify the diagnosis, appropriate referrals will be made.