Autism Diagnosis and Treatment
For over 20 years, Easterseals has been diagnosing autism, under the direction of Ellen L. Kitts, MD. During this time, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people with autism that Easterseals serves. In keeping with the mission to create solutions that change lives, Easterseals put together a multidisciplinary team of professionals to not only diagnose autism but help the families get the answers and services that they need. The team includes a medical director, a social worker, a speech-language pathologist, an occupational therapist, and other developmental specialists.
This multidisciplinary team has been trained in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2 (ADOS-2). This is a semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social interaction, and play or imaginative use of materials for individuals who have been referred because of a possible autism diagnosis. The ADOS-2 consists of standard activities that allow the examiner to observe behaviors that have been identified as important to the diagnosis of ASD at different developmental levels and chronological ages.
Easterseals is utilizing the ADOS-2 because of its ability to establish differential diagnosis between ASD and a variety of developmental disabilities. The team uses these results in collaboration with Dr. Kitts’ evaluation to formulate the appropriate diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is on the autism spectrum, the team will create a plan to help the family receive the necessary services. Otherwise, Easterseals will continue to assess the child until needs are met.
An evaluation for autism requires a doctor's referral.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Easterseals, in partnership with Kendall Behavioral Solutions, offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
ABA is the data-driven science of learning and behavior. It uses evidence-based best practices to improve behavior, attention span, focus, social skills, memory, and academics. ABA uses positive reinforcement in a way that can be measured to bring about meaningful behavior change. Its primary application is for children diagnosed with ASD.
An ASD diagnosis is required prior to receiving ABA consultative therapy.