The central theme of this presentation is diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorders. Diagnosis is a clinical endeavor, made by experienced clinicians with knowledge of the features of ASDs. The latter are defined in behavioral terms and fall into three major categories: social, communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviors.
Within each of these domains, there are a variety of features; the number, level of severity and combination of symptoms can be different for different individuals with ASD. Diagnosis is a process of classification; it involves identification of a constellation of symptoms or behavioral features that are consistent with a particular disorder. Whereas diagnosis is a means of classification, and captures a child’s presentation in a more global way, an important goal of assessment is to document the child’s functioning in a more refined, detailed, and descriptive way for that individual. Assessment is aimed at not only identifying areas of vulnerability but also those areas that are strengths in the child’s profile. Both are relevant to treatment planning. A comprehensive assessment approach, core measures, and the goals of assessment are outlined in this presentation.
Featured reading from the Autism Intervention Programs lecture comes from:
"Neuropsychologial characteristics of autism and related conditions." Tsatsanis, K.D. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons. (2005)
A Comprehensive review of the literature on the neuropsychological characteristics of ASDs, including sensory, attention, memory, executive functioning, and intellectual profiles.
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