Ridge Zeller Therapy’s team approach provides families in the metro Phoenix area, including Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Queen Creek and Apache Junction, AZ, with an extensive understanding of their child’s performance related to the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Our autism spectrum disorder evaluations encompass the expertise of a psychologist, occupational therapist, and speech-language pathologist, along with parents and sometimes teachers.
When completing an evaluation our psychologist will use measures to assess for ASD, as well as completing assessments in the cognitive and adaptive areas, and conducting a parent interview, which includes a comprehensive developmental history.
Our team specializes in the administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – Second Edition (ADOS-2). The ADOS-2 is the "gold standard" measure in the assessment and diagnosis of individuals with ASD, and can be used with individuals ranging in age from very young children through adults.
In addition, as part of the team evaluation, a full speech-language evaluation will be conducted, which includes the areas of pragmatics and social skills, receptive and expressive language, and speech production.
The occupational therapist working with your child will examine sensory processing and integration skills.
Sometimes, when deemed necessary by the team, the child will be observed in his or her classroom.
After the comprehensive evaluation is completed, families will be provided with feedback regarding their child’s performance and recommendations for next steps, along with a comprehensive written report.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Information
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impact a child's communication skills, social interactions, and behaviors to varying degrees.
According to the DSM-5, individuals with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties in two main areas, social communication skills and restricted/repetitive behaviors.
However, the specific behaviors that an individual with autism spectrum disorder exhibits will vary from person to person.
For example, deficits in the social communication area may include some, but not necessarily all, of the following (please note: for older children, some of these behaviors may have been more noticeable when the child was younger or may have improved over time):
- Limited or inconsistent eye contact
- Limited use of pointing to show objects of interest (for example, the child tends not to point at something like a bird in a tree)
- Difficulty making or keeping friends
- Limited showing or sharing objects of interest
- Difficulty having a conversation
- Not approaching peers or seems uninterested in other children
- Difficulty playing with others; tends to focus on his/her own agenda
- Limited facial expressions
- Limited pretend play
Some examples of restricted and repetitive behavior that can be seen in children with ASD include:
- Repetitive body movements
- Repetitive or unusual speech such as frequently repeating lines from movies or TV even when unrelated to the conversation
- Repetitive or unusual play with toys such as lining up toys frequently and getting upset if they are moved
- Getting upset if there are changes to his or her routine
- Intense or unusual interests
- Over or under-reactive to sensory input (touch, sound, texture, etc.)
Other potential red flags include:
- Delays in speech development
- Regression or loss of skills, such as speech skills (for example, a very young child that started talking but then seemed to stop)
Additional information about autism and ASD, for Arizona resident's and beyond, can be found at Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), Autism Speaks, and Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology.
To request more information about our autism spectrum disorder, or to inquire about an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) evaluation in the Phoenix area including Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Queen Creek and Apache Junction, AZ, please fill out the following form, or email Heather Holston, Therapy Coordinator at ContactUs@rztherapy.com or call us at 480-365-9981 today!