Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Toronto

 
Have you ever wondered if your toddler, child, or teen has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Children with ASD are often very bright, goal-oriented, and creative. Nevertheless, toddlers, children, and teens on the spectrum struggle to connect socially. A common myth about ASD is that these kids do not want to have friends. That assumption is simply not true. Many children and teens with autism want to have friends, but they struggle to make friends. They can also struggle with expectations at home and school, leading to frustrations and outbursts emerging quickly.

You want your child or teen to be more connected to peers and classmates. And you want your child or teen to be able to meet expectations at home and school with better emotion and behaviour regulation. But what can you do?

It is important to figure out whether ASD can explain the challenges you are seeing, especially since treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder are available and can make a big difference.

Here are answers to questions we are often asked about assessing ASD at the Possibilities Clinic.

What is ASD?
You might have heard that ASD is rare or that your child will just “grow out” of any awkwardness with peers. Or that their language skills will just “catch up.” Science does not support this “growing out of it over time” perspective. ASD is a real, physical, neurobiological brain difference. Thousands of scientific studies have proven that fact, and early interventions and treatments are critical for improving outcomes in the future.

ASD can look different in different people. For example, some children prefer playing on their own, others struggle with language delays, and some find back-and-forth conversations challenging.

    How can I figure out if my child has ASD?

    A detailed assessment can help you figure that out. And no, this is not something you need to figure out on your own. We can help! We have assessed thousands of children and teens at the Possibilities Clinic. We are specialists, not generalists, so we are experts in diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

    Is diagnosing ASD hard to do?

    Yes, diagnosing ASD is complicated because functioning falls along a very broad spectrum. No two people with ASD are alike, and symptoms that look like ASD might not be. Figuring out what is going on takes time, detailed investigation, and expert knowledge. At Possibilities, multiple experts in a team determine whether autism is present or not with data collected from clinical observations, questionnaires, and interview sessions. Bottom line: autism cannot be diagnosed accurately with a simple checklist in 15 minutes.

    Does that mean treating ASD is complicated, too?

    Yes, treating ASD is complicated. There are many therapy options out there. Some have scientific support, and others do not. How do you know what is right for you or your family? How do you know what is going to make real change happen? We will devise a Treatment Plan that helps you achieve bigger goals and better outcomes. And we will only suggest treatments for autism that are supported by science.

    What do ASD Assessments look like at the Possibilities Clinic?

    We offer a Comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment at Possibilities that looks at more than just social skills. We take a detailed medical and developmental history to investigate difficulties in multiple areas of functioning. Questionnaire ratings, from people you give us permission to contact like teachers, help offer more information about challenges in different settings and situations. Our assessment includes gold standard measurements for identifying autistic behaviours, plus measures of language skills gathered by a Speech and Language Pathologist. Once problem areas are identified, our team can recommend targeted and scientifically supported treatments.

    How are your ASD Assessments different from others?

    At Possibilities, we approach assessments from a team perspective. That means we involve experts from multiple health fields—like medicine, psychology and speech and language pathology—in our assessments. A team approach to ASD, where psychology and speech and language pathology expertise is added to physician assessment, makes our approach unique. Having multiple experts on the assessment team also means that a full range of abilities can be examined in-depth, from language development and social skills to behaviour and emotion regulation.

    Our team approach is comprehensive, so we call our assessment the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Multidisciplinary Team Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    At what age should I consider obtaining an ASD assessment for my child or teen?

    Early intervention always works best! However, it is never too late. We have seen thousands of preschoolers, children, and teens. At any age, improved outcomes can happen with the right Treatment Plan. At Possibilities, we offer our Child and Adolescent ASD Assessment to toddlers as young as 18 months and children and teens up to 17 years.

    Will the assessment help us develop the right Treatment Plan?
    Yes, but recommendations cannot be general, and they cannot be vague. Recommendations must be targeted, specific, and supported by science. And they must be personalized for you. For preschoolers, we might recommend ABA, Speech-Language Pathology, or Occupational Therapy to address challenges communicating or regulating emotions and behaviours. For older students, we might recommend social-skills groups or therapy addressing emotions like anxiety.

    What is the cost of the assessment?

    The cost for our Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Multidisciplinary Team Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder is $2500. Private insurance plans often cover this fee.

    I do not live in Toronto. Do I need to come into the city for the assessment?
    Our assessments are available over Telemedicine throughout Ontario. With this option, we can see people from the safety and comfort of their homes. We’ve also found that clients are often more comfortable and less anxious in their own surroundings. For some children and teens, we may recommend in-person testing in our Toronto office. 

    I do not live in Ontario. Can I still be tested remotely?

    At this time, all of our clinicians are licensed to see people in Ontario only. Hence, you must be physically present in Ontario, even for our virtual appointments. We may be able to change this arrangement in the future, so stay tuned!

    Do I need a doctor’s referral to start the assessment?

    Yes. A physician is involved in all of our assessments, so a doctor’s referral is required.

    What do I do to get started?
    Please fill out the intake forms on our website at https://possibilitiesclinic.com/age-3-17/  for children and teens. Once we have this form and the physician referral, our staff will call you to set up an appointment.

    For any questions, email us at info@possibilitiesclinic.com or call 1-833-482-5558 to speak to our Care Coordinator.