You want your child or teen to be more connected to peers and classmates but what should 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.
ASD can look different in different people. Some children seem to prefer playing on their own, others struggle with language delays, and many simply find “chit-chat” conversations not interesting or difficult to do.
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 have expertise in the diagnosis of ASD—and in associated disorders that can go along with autism, like ADD or ADHD.
Is diagnosing ASD hard to do?
Yes, diagnosing ASD is complicated because functioning falls along a very broad spectrum. No two people with ASD is 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 are involved in determining whether autism is present or not with data collected from observations and questionnaires, clinical interview sessions, and direct testing. Bottom line: Autism cannot be diagnosed 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?
At the Possibilities Clinic, we offer a Comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment 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 the ADOS-2—considered the gold standard for directly testing and identifying autistic behaviours—plus measures of language skills, and a comprehensive sensory and motor evaluation. 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 occupational therapy—in every single assessment that we do, including assessments of social functioning. A team approach to ASD, where psychology and occupational therapy 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 sensory processing and emotion regulation.
Our team approach is comprehensive, so we call our assessment the Comprehensive 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, good outcomes can happen with the right Treatment Plan. At Possibilities, we offer our ASD assessment to toddlers as young as 18 months and to 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. At Possibilities, our team will work with you to coordinate therapies and treatments all in one clinic.
What is the cost of the assessment?
The cost for our Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Team Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder is $1750. This fee is often covered by private insurance plans.
I do not live in Toronto. Do I need to come into the city for the assessment?
We are excited to announce that the Medical Intake portion of our assessment is now available throughout Ontario over video. At this session you will discuss your concerns with the physician and provide important background information. However, for ASD, direct testing of your child or teen’s social communication skills has to be done in person.
I do not live in Ontario. Can I still be tested remotely?
Unfortunately, at this time, all of our clinicians are licensed to see people in Ontario. If you live anywhere in Ontario, you can be accessed remotely for the clinical interview sessions, though direct testing for social communication skills would happen at our Toronto office. If you do not live in Ontario, you or your child can still be assessed but you will need to come to our central Toronto office. 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 specialized physician is involved in all of our assessments, so a doctor’s referral is required. However, if there are unusual circumstances that make it difficult for you to obtain a referral—like during COVID-19—please contact our office so we can discuss possible options.
What do I do to get started?
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 Care Coordinator will call you to set up an appointment.