From 2 Years to 90 Days:Speeding up the Autistic Diagnostic Assessment process

Considering the number of children diagnosed with autism every year, one might imagine that the process of having a child screened, diagnosed and enrolled in the proper services can take a great deal of time. In the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, families were waiting as long as two years to have their child seen by a professional who could provide an accurate diagnosis of autism. Crucial therapy was being delayed because children require a diagnosis before receiving a Pennsylvania ACCESS card that allows in-home services. Because KidsPeace is committed to providing services to children on the autism spectrum, we opened an Autistic Diagnostic Service in the Lehigh Valley last year. Using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), KidsPeace professionals assess children ages 18 months to 10 years after other diagnoses have been ruled out by pediatricians. A complete evaluative report is prepared and presented to parents in less than a month, and then parents are assisted in applying for ACCESS cards and obtaining the services that their children require. The entire process is completed in a few months after initial contact with KidsPeace. To summarize:
• Appointments are available within 1-3 months
• Children between the ages of 18 months and 10 years are assessed
• KidsPeace uses ADOS, the “Gold Standard” of autism diagnosis
• A complete psychological evaluation of the child is conducted
• Results are provided to parents in a comprehensive report in a few weeks
• Assistance is provided in obtaining funding sources and services for the autistic child
• KidsPeace counselors do follow-up contact with parents to determine if their needs are being met and if KidsPeace can provide any services to assist their children.

For more information on the KidsPeace Autism Diagnostic Service, call 610-799-7357.