Austism Spectrum Disorder


How Can Autism Spectrum Disorder be Tested and Treated?

Disclaimer: The content on this webpage is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific medical advice. Reviewing the content of this webpage is not a substitute for consulting with a qualified health provider or mental health provider.

As symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can span many areas of mental health (e.g., social functioning, sensory functioning, and communication), a comprehensive diagnostic process can be involved. Observation-based tests, ones that assess social functioning through a set of interactive activities, can be important in the evaluation. Also, an in-depth developmental interview with a parent (when this is available) can be crucial. Additional interviewing, performance-based assessments, and questionnaires can also be needed to determine the presence of this disorder.

ASD and Other Conditions

Individuals with ASD can have a greater likelihood of qualifying for other disorders, disorders such as ADHD, learning disorders, and anxiety-related disorders. Given this, it can be important for an examiner to screen for, or test for, these other sets of symptoms. Doing so can not only help to identify other conditions which impact well-being, but it can also aid in the analysis of understanding how ASD impacts an individual’s total picture.

Intelligence and ASD

It is common to include a test of intelligence when taking part in an evaluation for ASD. In some individuals, ASD symptoms can be related to deficits in intelligence. Interestingly, in some individuals, ASD can be associated with certain cognitive strengths (for instance, the ability to acquire knowledge in long-term memory). Since individuals with ASD can process information differently, and less efficiently, compared to the average population, tests related to information processing (often included in comprehensive tests of intelligence) can be important.

Treatment Options for ASD

An individual’s treatment can take into account the variety of ways in which ASD can influence functioning. While we wouldn’t say that psychiatric medication treats the core symptoms of ASD, some medications may target areas (such as anxiety or agitation) which are often considered associated problems of the disorder. Therapy or counseling might be used when individuals with ASD could benefit from improving social skills or managing symptoms of other disorders (such as anxiety-related disorders) which can accompany ASD. When communication barriers are significant enough to impede progress in an insight-related therapy (e.g., a “talk” therapy), behavioral interventions, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), might be appropriate in order to assist in learning and understanding new behaviors

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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
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