Which psychological assessments help detect my child with Autism?
Psychological assessment refers to scientific methods psychologists often use to understand the human personality. The psychological assessment of children with autism requires multiple evaluators, using multiple methods of gathering information. Since ASD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, children with ASD benefit from an interdisciplinary team of diagnosticians and therapists, which could typically include, developmental pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a speech and language pathologist, and a few others. This team of professionals carries out several assessments and tests, which pinpoints the exact areas in which the child has problem.
Your child's psychologist would first take a detailed history of your child's cognitive development, behavior, social functioning and family history. After the detailed history is taken, various psychological tests specifically designed for children with Autism would be conducted to evaluate their problems, assess the severity of their problems and to confirm the diagnosis. Then, together with you and your child, they would formulate a treatment program, according to your child's needs after which your child's progress would have to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that their needs are met by the course of action, and adjustment is done if necessary.
The tests your psychologist would mostly do to detect and diagnose Autism are:
Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS):
The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) is a diagnostic assessment method that rates children on a scale from one to four for various criteria, ranging from normal to severe, and yields a composite score ranging from non-autistic to mildly autistic, moderately autistic, or severely autistic. The scale is used to observe and subjectively rate fifteen items.
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-3rd edition (GARS-3):
The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale - 3rd edition (GARS-3) is based on the DSM-V definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and is one of the widely used assessments for diagnosis of Autism and estimating it's severity. This test consists of 56 clearly stated items grouped into six subscales Restrictive, Repetitive behaviors, Social Interaction, Social Communication, Emotional Responses, Cognitive Style and Maladaptive Speech. The test can be administered among people from age 3 years to 22 years.
Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ):
The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) (formerly called the Autism Screening Questionnaire) is a screening tool designed to identify children who may be on the autism spectrum. The SCQ is designed to be used by parents or primary caregivers and is intended for use with children aged 4 years and above as long as his or her mental age exceeds 2 years. The score identifies individuals who may be on the autism spectrum and who should be referred for a more complete evaluation.
Malin's Intelligence Scale for Children (MISIC):
The Malin's Intelligence Scale for Children (MISIC) measures intelligent quotient, to identify learning disability and to identify cognitive problems (e.g. memory, attention, concentration, perception etc.) The test is administered for use with children from the age group 5 to 15 years.
Autism Diagnostic Observation Social (ADOS):
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play (or imaginative use of materials) for individuals suspected of having autism. The ADOS consists of four modules, each of which is appropriate for children and adults of differing developmental and language levels, ranging from nonverbal to verbally-fluent.