Assessments are the first step to identifying what services would help the individual seeking our services best. At AFA, we conduct different types of assessments based on the requirement of the family of the individual with autism.
The AFA team provides Screening and Diagnostic Assessments, Functional Skills Assessments and Occupational and Sensory Assessments.
Screening and Diagnostic Assessments
Screening and diagnostic assessments for autism are usually made after detailed interviews with the family members, and after observations of and interactions with the individual with autism. The specific protocol used will depend on the age, skills and interests of the individual, as well as his or her background. We base our diagnoses on internationally standardised diagnostic criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- 5) and a variety of standardised screening / diagnostic instruments.
The diagnostic team at AFA conducts screening and diagnostic assessments for individuals across all age groups and across the spectrum of autism. Our staff is trained in the reliable administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), and these tools may be used in the process of arriving at the diagnoses. We also use various other screening and diagnostic tools, including the SCQ, SRS, MCHAT-R and other different developmental assessments. Determining related disorders and differentiating ASD from other disorders is also a part of the diagnostic assessment.
Following the assessment, parents are provided with feedback about the process used to reach the diagnostic decision and information on autism and services necessary to start intervention. We find it useful for parents to bring or send, ahead of time any past diagnostic evaluations, where applicable. We also prepare a detailed report for the parents informing them about the diagnosis and our recommendations.
Functional Skills Assessments
Autism is hallmarked by an uneven skill profile. A functional assessment of the person with autism helps determine the existing skill sets and the future goals. It provides a detailed insight into the current level of performance of the child in various skill areas including motor, communication, speech, imitation, cognition and activities of daily living.
The assessment is made over multiple sessions through a series of observations, direct work sessions with the child and discussion with the family. An Individualised Education Programme (IEP) is prepared on the basis of functional assessments. The process therefore may require more than one visit with the child to AFA. Given the variability on the spectrum, as well as the unevenness in skill development, regular functional assessments can be used effectively to monitor progress.
Occupational and Sensory Assessment
A detailed assessment is made based on a sensory profile questionnaire which addresses all the sensory systems in depth, along with direct observation of the child and feedback from parents. The assessment is conducted by Occupational Therapists who are also trained in Sensory Integration Therapy. This evaluation provides a base for all subsequent occupational and sensory interventions for the child.