Rumson Autism Testing

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Empowered Learning Transformation Centers

Testing & Diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

Currently, there is no definitive laboratory test for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), though active research is looking for “biomarkers” including genetic tests and brain imaging tests, differences on electroencephalograms (EEGs) and brain imaging tests.

For now, though, ASD is diagnosed based on a child’s symptoms and behavior. Usually, the primary care pediatrician will suggest an evaluation by a specialist.

What diagnostic tests are used in autism?

At the Empowered Learning Transformation Centers, ASD assessments include:

  • a medical and neurological examination
  • a review of your child’s cognitive abilities
  • assessment of your child’s speech and language abilities
  • observation of your child’s behavior
  • an in-depth conversation with you and your family about your child’s behavior and development
  • questions about your child’s family history

Making an ASD diagnosis is just the beginning. Our clinicians will then perform in-depth evaluations to understand your child’s unique strengths and challenges. This evaluation is crucial for defining what kinds of educational programs and behavioral therapies would be most beneficial.

We may involve a number of specialists, such as child neurologists, developmental behavioral pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, child psychologists and psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, educational specialists and occupational therapists. Questions you may be asked include:

  • What kind of language skills does your child have?
  • At what age did his symptoms start?
  • Has he experienced a regression in skills?
  • Does he have any related cognitive or learning problems?
  • Does he have any challenging behaviors?
  • Is he able to pay attention for extended periods?

If appropriate, we may recommend testing to look for related medical concerns based on your child’s history, physical examination findings and results of cognitive and behavioral testing. For instance, children with ASD often have sleep difficulties, and some develop seizures or epilepsy. Our staff can help make this testing as comfortable as possible for your child—read more about our work to make blood draws easier for children with autism.

 

Additional tests may include:

  • hearing and vision screening to see whether your child has a problem that might be contributing to his symptoms
  • blood lead testing
  • Wood’s lamp exam, a special skin test to screen for tuberous sclerosis
  • testing for metabolic disorders
  • neuroimaging (such as MRI)
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • nutritional evaluation for children who eat very limited foods

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