Autism Spectrum Disorders

The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) continues to rise. The latest estimates indicate that 1 in 68 children meet the criteria for ASD compared to 1 in 88 in 2012. Boys are 5 times more likely to have the condition, with 1 in 42 boys meeting the diagnostic criteria, while only 1 in 189 girls meet the criteria. A positive note is that half of all the children identified had average or above average intellectual ability, which is significantly higher than the 30% with at least average intellectual ability a decade ago. At Family Psychology Associates, we offer state of the art diagnostic evaluations that include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, and psychoeducational testing to rule out the learning problems which are most prevalent for children on the autism spectrum.

One of the most important factors in the treatment of ASD is early identification and intervention. Pediatricians now conduct autism screenings during well-child exams of preschoolers. They may detect indications of ASD in children with obvious language delays or significant cognitive deficits. However, parents of children whose impairment is more subtle may be told to “wait and see.” If a parent suspects that their child is displaying a variation is development, it is best to obtain an evaluation as soon as possible.

Our diagnostic evaluations include a review of the child’s medical and developmental history, a school observation, interviews with the child and parents and rating scales from home and school. At the conclusion of our assessment, we provide a written treatment plan that may include any of the following:

  • Family education
  • In-home behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • School consultation
  • Group therapy
    • A computer-based social skills training program for children aged 8-12
    • Social skills for high school students
    • Social skills for college students

Here are some additional resources related to ASD:

Effective Practices for Children with Autism: Educational and Behavior Support Interventions that Work. James Luiselli, Dennis Russo, Walter Christian, and Susan Wilczynski, 2008.

Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals. Catherine Maurice, Gina Green, and Stephen Luce, 1996.

Children with Autism: A Parent’s Guide. Michael Powers, 1989.

Reaching Out, Joining In: Teaching Social Skills to Young Children with Autism. Mary Jane Weiss and Sandra Harris, 2001,

Our featured autism spectrum disorder specialists: