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Autism Testing in Simi Valley, Ca

As a parent it can be heartbreaking to see your child not connecting with others.

You see other kids engaging with each other, laughing and playing.

But your child tends to sit by himself, be happy playing with toys on his own, and often appears uninterested in other kids. He may struggle to make friendships or keep friends. Teachers may be noticing some concerns for your child such as difficulties participating with the rest of the class.

Even at home you are noticing some concerns. You notice there are things your child insists on doing in specific ways. When routines get disrupted or things change, this might be overwhelming for your child. Perhaps your child only plays with one or two toys and constantly repeats the same pattern with them.

It can be difficult to share in activities with your child. Perhaps there are only a couple of things he seems to truly enjoy with you. Maybe he loses interest in games or interactions quickly. You see him flourish in certain areas, but seem to struggle in many others.

You know something does not seem quite right in how your child is developing. You may be concerned your child has autism, but worried what this will mean for the future.

Fortunately, with a clearer picture of what is happening for your child, many avenues of support become available.

Although exploring if your child may have a diagnosis of autism can be a scary process, it can also be the first step in feeling more confident in how to support your child’s development.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder, often referred to as autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s social-communication and involves engaging in limited interests and repetitive behaviors. These symptoms are present from an early age and often include language delays and other concerns during early development.
Child is smiling at his mom after neuropsychological testing with child psychologist Simi Valley
Kids playing together with chalk soon going to child psychologist for autism testing near Thousand Oaks, Ca

Social communication

Is one general area that is affected for people with autism. In regards to social-communication, several symptoms are noted. These symptoms include difficulties engaging with others in a typical way. This can mean limited eye contact, trouble with maintaining conversations, and limited use of nonverbal communication (e.g. gestures, nodding, etc.). It also involves limited interest in peers and difficulty maintaining relationships with others.
Kids playing together with chalk soon going to child psychologist for autism testing near Thousand Oaks, Ca

Presence of restricted interests

Or repetitive behaviors is another key area affected by autism. These symptoms can include becoming fixated on certain topics or routines. This includes how much a person talks about those topics or insists on doing the same activity. People with autism often have strong sensory interests or aversions. They may also engage in self-stimulatory behaviors such as flapping hands, flicking fingers, etc.

Girl having fun with eggs after getting help for social concerns with autism testing in Simi Valley, Ca

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

The “spectrum” in Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to the wide range in how autism can affect people.

You may have heard of terms such as Asperger’s Syndrome or “high-functioning autism.” These refer to people who may be less severely impacted by autism symptoms. For example, they may be able to communicate verbally, have some social skills, and are largely able to engage in their environment appropriately, but with some significant difficulties as well.

Asperger’s Syndrome and “high-functioning autism”, are not their own separate diagnoses, but instead, fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is important to remember there is a big range in how severely symptoms of autism will impact an individual.

girl with autism looking at a flower in need of autism testing Thousand Oaks, ca with child psychologist

What are common signs of autism?

Autism symptoms can vary for different people. In general, common signs of autism include difficulties with social communication such as limited eye contact and odd social behaviors. Repetitive behaviors are also a sign of autism and can include fixations, repetitive body movements, and repetitive language.

Keep in mind: If a child has autism, it is never too late to receive services and interventions that can help. However, research has shown, the earlier a child receives services, the better the outcomes in regards to building social-communication and engagement. Knowing what signs to look for can help determine if a child would benefit from an evaluation.

How common signs of autism manifest at different stages of development:

Early years (0-3)

At an early age, some signs of autism may be harder to spot. All children develop differently, and some areas of delay does not necessarily mean a child has autism. However, there are key areas to look for to determine if a child has autism or is at risk for having autism. This age is so important because an early diagnosis is associated with the best outcomes for children with autism.

Some early signs of autism include not responding to his/her name, limited looking towards people’s faces, and limited interest in social games (e.g. peek-a-boo). General difficulties with communication are also noted. For example, a child may consistently scream when there is something they want rather than point or use a word.

They may make less clear attempts at initiating interactions with caregivers. At this early age, many sensory symptoms may also be noted such as being overly fixated or averse to specific sounds, smells, and/or textures. Young children may repeat the same play sequences repeatedly. Developmental delays such as being late to start using words or late in walking are often noted.

Preschool years

As a child enters preschool age, social symptoms of autism often become more apparent. Still, they can be difficult to spot and sometimes attributed to immaturity or anxiety.

A major sign of autism at this age is limited interest in peers. Many children with autism are more object-focused than socially-focused and may prefer playing on their own or be more focused on toys than people. Some other common signs of autism at this age include limited eye contact, limited or odd language patterns, and difficulty communicating wants/needs.

Repetitive behaviors are also noted including repeated play patterns, strong interests in a small number of topics, and repetitive body movements. Children with autism also often display rigidity when it comes to certain routines, rules, or placement of objects.

Preschool years

As a child enters preschool age, social symptoms of autism often become more apparent. Still, they can be difficult to spot and sometimes attributed to immaturity or anxiety.

A major sign of autism at this age is limited interest in peers. Many children with autism are more object-focused than socially-focused and may prefer playing on their own or be more focused on toys than people. Some other common signs of autism at this age include limited eye contact, limited or odd language patterns, and difficulty communicating wants/needs.

Repetitive behaviors are also noted including repeated play patterns, strong interests in a small number of topics, and repetitive body movements. Children with autism also often display rigidity when it comes to certain routines, rules, or placement of objects.

Little girl has difficulty making friends in need of autism testing in Thousand Oaks, Ca

Grade school

As a child enters elementary school, difficulties usually become more apparent. A lot of times, these difficulties are also accompanied by several skills, which sometimes makes it difficult to determine if there is really a problem.

Key things to look out for at this age are continued difficulties in social-communication as well as continued repetitive patterns of behavior that have not improved over time or that are becoming more pronounced.

Limited ability to communicate at an age-appropriate level, low interest in peers/people, and repetitive play or speech patterns are common characteristics of autism at this age. Difficulties with social communication are likely to occur both at home and at school, and are not attributable to just being anxious or shy.

What does an assessment for autism entail?

There are several components to determine if a child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Here is a brief explanation of what to expect during the neuropsychological testing process.

Developmental interview/Questionnaires.

Parents will participate in a developmental interview, considered one of the “gold standards” for autism diagnoses (Autism Diagnosis Interview-Revised). During this interview, parents will be asked questions relating to the presence, development and change of specific autism symptoms.

Questions about overall development will also be asked such as when a child achieved milestones such as walking or talking. The parent and the child’s teacher (if applicable) will also complete brief questionnaires to provide more information on the child’s development.

This portion of the autism evaluation is essential in determining how symptoms related to autism may be present for the child and how they have developed over time.

Semi-structured play observation

Another “gold standard” assessment is called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, Second Edition (ADOS-2). During this assessment, a child is presented with a series of play activities while the clinician observes the presence of autism-related symptoms. Depending on the child’s age, parents are also included in the assessment. This assessment provides a score indicating if the child’s observed behaviors are indicative of a diagnosis of autism.

Developmental Assessments

Based on the child’s age, appropriate developmental assessments will also be administered. These assessments evaluate the presence of delays in areas such as language, motor skills, and independence skills.

Naturalistic Observation

If a child is in school, an observation may be set up to evaluate the child’s social behaviors in a natural setting. This step only occurs if applicable, and only with the parents’ permission. It can be helpful in comparing a child’s behaviors in a natural setting such as school to behaviors in a one-on-one setting such as in the evaluator’s office.

Detailed Report with Individualized Recommendations

At the end of an autism assessment, parents will participate in a feedback session where the results of the assessment will be described and parents’ questions can be addressed. The report will provide any applicable diagnoses. It will also provide recommendations for services based on the child’s unique situation as well as referrals to providers near the family. Specific recommendations for school will also be provided.

Who is the right fit for Autism testing?

If you are concerned with your child’s development due to difficulties with social communication and/or the presence of repetitive behaviors, this type of assessment may be appropriate. It can provide answers you are looking for and determine if what you are noticing really is autism-related. Learning more about your child’s strengths and struggles as well as information about what is expected at their age can help you feel more confident in what to do moving forward.

It can be a difficult process pursuing an evaluation for autism. Many families feel uncertainty as to what it will mean if a child does receive a diagnosis. While it may be a scary process, finding out if your child has an autism diagnosis can also be the first step in feeling empowered to get them the support they need.

Leaving the assessment process with specific recommendations and supports tailored for your child’s needs can help you feel more in control moving forward.

More About Simi Psychological Group

Dr. John Danial

Licensed Psychologist PSY 29170

Psychologist providing psychological evaluations Thousand Oaks ca
Dr. John Danial is passionate about helping parents truly understand what their children and adolescents are dealing with every day. He desires to help you get to the bottom of the problems and to get the feedback that psychological testing can provide so that you can get the tools necessary to create real change. Children who receive the right services based upon a detailed evaluation can better thrive in their lives. Dr. Danial has had many years of experience providing neuropsychological assessments and feels confident in his ability to provide a detailed report that will help your child’s future.

Our practice works from a systems perspective.

Which means our job is to help your child understand not only how every aspect of their life is connected, but how they are interconnected with those around them as well. Life is not lived in a vacuum, and therapy with us is about working through the deep-rooted concerns that are keeping your child stuck. We wholeheartedly believe your child can take control over the direction of their life, they just need to be willing to trust themselves in the process.
Simi Psychological Group team provides psychological evaluations near Thousand Oaks ca

At Simi Psychological Group, our mission is to reach the true root of your struggles so you can create real lasting change in you and your family’s lives. We know you have full control to live the life you want and deserve, which will then ripple into our community and the world.

Where and When Can I schedule an Autism Testing in Simi Valley, Ca

Our office is conveniently located at:

3695 Alamo St. Suite 103
Simi Valley, CA 93063.

We also serve Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Northridge, Porter Ranch, and the surrounding communities.

Business hours and availability are dependent on the provider.

Your Next Steps

Your child can begin the process of uncovering any underlying disorders which may be contributing to the difficulties they’re experiencing in life. A formalized assessment will be able to bring clarity to what your child is really facing. It will also give them the power and knowledge they need to embody long-lasting change.
Identifying what is really going on may feel really intimidating right now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the strength to gather the information. You just need a proper course of psychological tests and the support to navigate the answers they reveal.

Autism Testing will help you get the answers you need and the necessary support for your child to thrive.

And they’ll also bring clarity to the questions you have had for so long. Ultimately, knowing the answers will provide you with a sense of peace that comes from finally having a plan. We can help.