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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests. Signs are typically evident during a child's early developmental period.

Some common signs of ASD include:

  • Delayed speech
  • Not responding when their name is called
  • Limited eye contact
  • Not using gestures such as pointing
  • Limited interest in same-aged children or difficulty understanding how to play with same-aged children
  • Limited pretend play
  • Playing in an unusual or repetitive way (e.g., interest in parts of a toy)
  • Repetitive speech
  • Rigidity in routines, difficulty transitioning between activities
  • Limited range of interests or highly specialized knowledge about a few topics
  • Increased or decreased sensory sensitivities (e.g., to lights, noise, pain, temperature, texture)
  • Loss of skills (e.g., your child started talking and now is no longer talking)

Please visit the CDC's webpage for families to learn more about ASD.

What To Do If You Are Concerned

Parents often start to become concerned about ASD when their children are about 2 years old, but the average age for autism diagnosis is 4. Early diagnosis is important because when a child is diagnosed early, they can begin necessary developmental therapies to help teach them skills for communication, social interaction, and daily living. We know that seeking an evaluation can be a difficult step to take, but regardless of the outcome, the evaluation will help you learn about your child's development and next steps you can take to support them.

The CABER Diagnostic Clinic sees children ages 12 months – 18 years for ASD evaluations. If you, your child's physician, or educators working with your child believe your child may benefit from an autism diagnostic evaluation, please contact our clinic to get more information (caberdiagnostics@uga.edu or 762-499-0445) and schedule your appointments.

We have resumed ASD evaluations for children and adolescents. Portions of the evaluation will be conducted via telehealth in addition to one in-person visit to our clinic. We have incorporated new procedures to ensure your family's health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, which include health/temperature screening, face mask requirements, social distancing, and frequent cleaning of materials. We will describe specific procedures and expectations prior to your visit.

We are also continuing to conduct telehealth evaluations for ASD with toddlers (up to 36 months).

About the ASD Evaluation

The evaluation includes an initial intake appointment (1-2 hours), a testing appointment (approximately 2 hours), and a feedback session (1 hour). During the feedback session, we will share the results of the evaluation along with any diagnoses and recommendations to help address the challenges your child is experiencing. Several weeks after the feedback session, you will receive an official report in the mail.

The evaluation will include the following components:

  • Parent interview (may include the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R))
  • An IQ test specifically designed for children/teens to measure general cognitive abilities
  • Direct Observation: Diagnostic structured play based observation of child's social communication and social interaction skills (typically including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule or ADOS-2)
  • Measures of adaptive functioning
  • Social-emotional and behavioral screeners
  • Other autism symptom measures
  • Input from teachers (if applicable and with parental permission)

Because UGA is a training institution, graduate student clinicians may also be involved in the evaluation process. Their participation is under direct supervision of a licensed psychologist.

The full assessment costs $1200. Unfortunately, our clinic does not take insurance but we do operate on a sliding scale for autism diagnostic assessments, which we will evaluate on a case by case basis. We are working towards the capability to accept insurance for payment, so please check back with us for future updates!

Telehealth Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Toddlers

CABER is now offering diagnostic assessment of ASD for toddlers via telehealth. The evaluation will include a thorough diagnostic interview, an adaptive behavior assessment, and a live observation of the child's social skills and engagement with their caregiver using a tool developed by Vanderbilt University called the TELE-ASD-PEDS. Families will receive feedback about their child's development and, when appropriate, a diagnosis of ASD will be made. Regardless of the outcome, families will receive recommendations and information about next steps they can take to support their toddler.

We do not accept insurance for payment at this time. The current cost of the telehealth assessment is $480. The cost may be reduced on a sliding scale based on family size and income. We are working towards the capability to accept insurance for payment, so please check back with us for future updates!

Clinicians

Portrait of Andrea Zawoyski, PhD

Andrea Zawoyski, PhD

Dr. Zawoyski graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in educational psychology (school psychology emphasis). She has experience conducting ASD diagnostic evaluations in clinical and integrated pediatric primary care settings.

Portrait of Ashley Harrison, PhD

Ashley Harrison, PhD

Dr. Harrison graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in clinical psychology. Harrison was trained in behavioral and cognitive behavioral therapies and specializes in child-focused assessment and treatment. More specifically, she has extensive experience conducting ASD diagnostic evaluations using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.

Portrait of Chitra Pidaparti, PhD

Chitra Pidaparti, PhD

Dr. Pidaparti obtained her doctorate in educational psychology from Indiana University Bloomington in 2000. She is a licensed psychologist and has extensive training and expertise in diagnostic assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Contact Us

For more information about diagnostic evaluations for ASD or to make an appointment, please email caberdiagnostics@uga.edu or call 762-499-0445.