Our Diagnostic Process
The goal of our clinical services is to provide high quality and timely autism diagnostic services to underserved children (up to age six) and families, including those who are economically challenged or who have limited English proficiency. All services are offered in Spanish and English.
Autism Community Network uses a four-step diagnostic process.
1. Level 2 Focused Assessments – The first step in the diagnostic process, these assessments consist of a focused probe for developmental milestones in language development, social skill development, and maladaptive (autistic-like) behaviors. ACN uses the M-CHAT diagnostic test during the L2FA process. Based on the results, a patient may be scheduled for a full team evaluation, a functional behavior assessment, or referred to another community agency. To get an appointment for a Level 2 Focused Assessment (L2FA), download our ACN Referral Form for your pediatrician to complete.
2. Interdisciplinary Diagnostic Evaluations – Once a child has completed the L2FA process and has been recommended for a full autism evaluation, we proceed to the next step in the diagnostic process, the Interdisciplinary Diagnostic Evaluation. These evaluations are an arena-style assessment of the child’s overall development with a focus on communication, adaptive behaviors, and social-interaction skills. The team makes diagnoses and fundamental intervention recommendations. Our developmental-behavioral pediatrician provides immediate feedback on the day of evaluation regarding the test results and the diagnosis received from the evaluation team.
Each evaluation team consists of the developmental-behavioral pediatrician, a behavioral analyst, an occupational therapist, and a speech-language pathologist.
The evaluation will involve:
- Parent interview and case history
- Standardized measure of autism, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
- A hands-on criterion-based assessment of broad developmental areas (motor, self-help, language, social and cognitive skills)
Each professional will take part in the assessment and the team will make a collaborative decision about the diagnosis and fundamental treatment recommendations.
Based on the outcome of the autism diagnostic process, the diagnostic team will make diagnoses, referrals for additional testing, and fundamental treatment recommendations. These results will be presented to the parents on the day of the diagnostic evaluation.
Cost of Diagnostic Services
Our autism diagnostic evaluations are offered on a sliding fee scale to families and their children at-risk for autism. We accept many forms of medical insurance, including Medicaid. Contact Peggy Mahar at firstname.lastname@example.org for the sliding fee scale.
3. Introduction to Autism – Every family receiving an autism diagnosis at ACN is given free enrollment to an autism overview course which is presented at the ACN campus. The purpose of the course offering is two-fold: (1) to respond to questions that arise after the initial diagnosis, and (2) to provide support to families who may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis.
4. Training, Resources, and Events
Autism Community Network offers a series of classes for families and caregivers who care for a child with autism. These Family Empowerment Classes offer information from experts on how to maximize the potential of your child with autism. Family Empowerment Classes are free thanks to support form United Way of Bexar County.
ACN also offers Hands-On Trainings, which are one-on-one courses for parents and caregivers of children up to eight years of age with an autism diagnosis. Each session will be personalized to fit the specific needs of the child and family.
For more information regarding Family Empowerment Classes or Hands-On Trainings, please contact Marisol Martinez at Marisol@acn-sa.org or by phone at (210) 435-1000.
Autism Community Network also provides resources to families caring for a child with autism. We have information on occupational therapists, early childhood interventions, speech therapists, applied behavior analysts, special education consultants, and much more. For our most recent resource guide, click here.
ACN proudly offers autism-friendly family events to help provide peer support and an opportunity to socialize with other families facing autism. For more information on our Family Empowerment Events, please click here.