FREE SCREENINGS FOR AUTISM
Screenings are no charge for families who live within 5 miles of zip code 60156 and 46307. Otherwise, screenings are $50. All funds go to purchasing toys for the children we service.
When a parent or guardian has concerns, or a child is at risk for atypical development, an Autism screening can help provide answers and guidance towards the next steps. Studies show that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who receive early and intensive treatment have the best possible outcome. It is because of this that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children be screened for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 18 and 24 months.
Autism Spectrum Disorder can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. The ages of 0-3 are critical for brain development in a child. Therefore, if we can detect and begin treating ASD at a young age, the more successful therapy will be. This is why Harmony Autism Therapy is committed to providing free screenings to begin answering the many questions parents/guardians have.
WHEN TO GET A SCREENING
Trust your instincts. Research shows that most parents can identify symptoms years before a diagnosis. Parents and caregivers are in the position of knowing the child much better than any professional. Although pediatricians may screen for developmental delays, it does not mean that they have screened for ASD. If you see that your child appears to have minimal social interaction, rarely imitates, has unusual behaviors, lacks in social communication, or even has regression in some skills, contact us for a screening. Timely intervention is critical to your child’s development. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
A PROFESSIONAL’S VIEW
Our screening specialist has 20 years of experience in Early Childhood and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The specialist will help identify possible delays in language and social skills. This includes: engagement with others, play skills, and the scope of your child’s repetitive behaviors or limited, obsessive interests, if any. If red flags are present, you will receive information on the next steps for your child.
THE SCREENING PROCESS
- During the screening, the specialist will ask you questions or have you complete a short survey. In addition, we will spend some time observing your child during free play and also while you are interacting with your child. An assessment tool will be used to score your child’s performance during the evaluation.
- It’s important to remember, an autism screening does not provide a diagnosis, but it can help you and your doctor learn whether your child is showing delays or deficits in the two core areas related to ASD: (1) social communication and social interaction; and (2) restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.
- If your child’s screening evaluation results in your child being “AT RISK” for Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will be supported in each step you take. Most important is to immediately schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to help you rule-out Autism Spectrum Disorder or get your child the timely treatment he or she needs.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Most screening appointments are approximately 30-45 minutes. However, depending on your child’s developmental level, it may take longer. Therefore, we always recommend planning on 60 minutes.
A screening is to help you get information on “red flags” that are common in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. You will receive a report on our findings after the screening. This process is helpful to answer those questions every parent has, such as:
“Am I being too critical?”
“Is this typical for children to do?”
“What can I do to help my child?”
1) We provide home-based screenings. This means that your child will likely act as they typically do, so the evaluator conducting the screening can get an accurate rating on many skills that are difficult to observe in an office.
2) You will get information about different “red flags” your child is demonstrating, if any. We firmly believe that an informed parent is one of the most important factors in a child reaching his or her full potential. The other factor comes when ABA therapy requires consistency and follow-thru, which we achieve through parent training.
3) If your child’s results are “at risk” for ASD based on the observation and standardized screening assessment, you will get an easy to read summary from the specialist to bring to the diagnostician (i.e., psychologist, neuropsychogist). This helps provide the diagnostician information that may be more difficult to get from you in an office setting as your mind is racing, trying to think about how your child responds on a daily basis, or how often they x, y, or z.
4) You can use the report to prompt you with other information you may have forgotten about.
Tip for the visit: Begin to write down as much as you have time for, on a daily basis, that concerns you about your child, and write down any questions you have.