Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder: Diagnosis and Interventions. A Personal Story.

This is a short video of an adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Many of the adults I deal with in my practice are not just "high functioning" in terms of the autism spectrum, but also "high functioning" in terms of life in general. Employment, Friendships, Academics, Creativity.


While I know some individuals on the spectrum don't like the term "high functioning," this is the term in general practice. Here it's referred to Autism 1, something many people may not have heard of. This designation is based upon the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the manual we use here in Canada to diagnose most mental health issues) which includes several levels of support the individual needs. ASD-1 would be the least support.

As you can imagine the diagnosis on such a high functioning individual is not easy, and often I hear from patients that they are worried because of their particular attributes 

(women, minorities, indigenous) that they will not be able to be assessed.  Often this difficulty is because mental health practitioners have little experience with these populations, using the diagnostic tests (many doctors diagnose ASD without the use of normed tests!) or a lack of time. The procedures takes from 3-5 hours, plus time to score and review the answers, do the diagnosis and write a report. So I don't blame medical doctors for not having the ability to do such a diagnosis. It's difficult, time consuming and often insurance doesn't cover the cost.

I hope this video is useful. Other resources I often suggest include the website of Michelle Garcia Winners (www.socialthinking.com), especially for younger adults and teens.

We provide ASD assessments in our office in Burnaby. The office is located right on the SkyTrain at Production Way Station. It is handicapped accessible. While it is occasionally difficult to reach us because of the volume of phone calls and emails we get every day, once we connect we are usually able to arrange for an initial interview within a few weeks (2-3).  The full assessment, if we decide it is appropriate, is usually completed soon after and we provide a written report and feedback session as soon as possible after that. 

The cost of an autism assessment is $2,400.00  This includes the costs of the initial session, the testing and diagnostic process, and the feedback session. If you are going to college or university we may also need to complete a psychoeducational assessment, but not always. That's determined by the college or university you are attending.

Please read our webpage at www.relatedminds.com before contacting us so that you will have an understanding of the process, costs etc. You are then welcome to contact us either through the webpage, which has an email contact form, or by emailing relatedminds@gmail.com  In the subject line of the email please put "adult autism assessment' so that we can prioritize your inquiry. Because of the lack of services in this area we try to see patients, especially adults, with concerns about autism spectrum disorder first.









Psychoeducational Assessment: Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS AT RELATEDMINDS EDUCATIONAL SERVICES: Psychoeducational Assessments Completed by a Professional team of school and clinical psychologists familiar with schools, teaching and the classroom.  RelatedMinds Psychoeducational Services. Full information is available on our main webpage: www.relatedminds.com

OUR TEAM
Psychoeducational assessments are completed by a multidisciplinary team. Team members include Dr. Jim Roche, our senior psychologist, Sheena Cholewkas-Smyth, MS, and James Tanliao, MS.  Dr. Roche has over three decades of experience in education. He has worked as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, director of behaviour management services and as a provincial consultant for autism spectrum disorder. In California he was a trainer-of-trainers in the CAL-PENT program, serving as the consulting psychologist for several districts in the Bay area providing teacher training, teacher consultation and was the trainer for districts that were dealing with difficult cases involving multiple handicapping conditions.

James and Sheena are both certified school psychologists (Certified Members of BCASP - The British Columbia Association of School Psychologists), James is a NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) Certified School Psychologist as well. Both have extensive experience working in the schools, consulting with parents, students and teachers in the classroom. This is perhaps the most important difference between the psychoeducational assessment services that our team provides as compared to others: we all have extensive hands on experience in the schools.

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT
A psychoeducational assessment is a detailed look at your child’s cognitive, academic and social-emotional status.It is used to qualify children for special education and support services, and is used by your child’s school based support team and classroom teacher to develop an educational intervention program based upon your child’s skills, strengths and weaknesses.

WHAT AREAS DOES THE PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT COVER?
In general every psychoeducational assessment covers at least the following:

General Intelligence (Problem Solving Skills and General Knowledge)
Language skills  (Listening, Verbal and Reading, ranging from spelling to comprehension)
Memory (Working Memory, Short Term Memory, Long Term Memory, Visual Memory, Verbal Memory etc.)
Learning
Executive Functioning including attention, focus, planning, extended effort, cognitive flexibility, concentration
We screen for ADHD, and if appropriate, we can fully assess for ADHD and provide a diagnosis and treatment interventions for the home and school
Reading (phonetic skills, word reading, reading comprehension)
Spelling
Writing (from sentences to essays)
Mathematics
Academic fluency (speed of reading, writing, calculating)
Listening comprehension
Behavioural issues as well as social and emotional functioning
From the data we gather during this assessment process we then, if appropriate, make a diagnosis of a specific learning disability, ADHD and social-emotional issues.

We always start with a 1 hour intake in our Burnaby office. This allows us to review your concerns, and information you may have from the school or previous assessments, and determine the exact nature of the exam.

We then schedule a time for the testing process, which can at anywhere from 2-3 two hour sessions. We also ask you to complete a number of forms and clinical assessment tools. Some of these you will do in the office while your child is being assessed, some may be sent to you to complete on-line, and some will be given to you to complete at home. Older students are often asked to complete self-reports.

Teachers are also asked to complete a number of assessment tools. We sometimes send these home with you, or can send them by email. Often we conduct a phone interview with at least one teacher.
You will be asked to pay $200 for the initial session, and then 50% of the remaining fee before the first 2 hour session. The remainder at the end of the assessment process.
After testing is complete we usually need a week to 10 days to score the tests, analyze the information and write a report. This often involves more than one team member and takes several hours.
When the report is complete we schedule a feedback session with the parent(s) to discuss the findings of the assessment and almost always we ask to review the report with the student/child. Psychoeducation - understanding your cognitive and psychological strengths and weaknesses, and understanding our plan to make learning easier, is something every student should participate in.

COST: $2,400. total.

WHAT ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?
An autism spectrum disorder assessment can also be completed, however, this is a separate assessment process. We can discuss this issue at our initial meeting.

HOW CAN WE CONTACT YOU?
The best way is to both call and email. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our email contact is on our website at  www.RelatedMinds.com
You can also email us at: RelatedMinds(at)gmail.com

HOW LONG IS YOUR WAITING PERIOD?
We know that some agencies have waiting lists that are several months long, and that waiting lists for schools can take years. Once we start the process we usually complete everything in a few weeks. Overall we usually see a new student within 3-4 weeks. We do not schedule out more than a month.

For more information about services we provide please click here: www.relatedminds.com

 

Psychoeducational Assessments - Burnaby/Coquitlam/Vancouver

At RelatedMinds Educational Services we provide psychoeducational assessments, testing for autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD and legal/forensic and neuropsychological assessments. We provide these for children, adolescents and adults. Visit our main page at www.relatedminds.com

I have been asked many times about waiting lists for psychoeducational assessments. Our waiting list is never longer than a few weeks. The reason is simple: Others seem to have waiting lists going out several months. People on these lists spend time searching for a quicker provider, and often fail to inform the practitioner of their changed plans. We try to keep it much simpler, and schedule out only a few weeks. Usually we are able to see someone within 10-14 days.

The assessment takes some time to complete. We have an initial session to review your history and current complaints/symptoms. We do this because often times a psychoeducational assessment might not be the best choice, sometimes another assessment needs to happen first, or perhaps an intervention should be attempted for a period of time before we do an assessment. Additionally, sometimes other disorders can look like a learning disability, such as anxiety or depression, and we want to address those issues before we test.

Testing almost always takes two visits for a total of 5-6 hours, sometimes more. After the testing is done we are scoring the tests and looking through other data we have collected. A written report is then prepared and we meet to review the results, answer questions, and develop an action plan.

Everyone working at RelatedMinds is either a Registered Psychologist or School Psychologist. Every case is supervised by Dr. Roche, who in addition to being a Registered Psychologist is a school psychologist and former teacher of special education. Everyone working with us has direct experience in schools and in classrooms, which is unique. Often clients come to us after receiving a psychoeducational assessment because the practitioner simply had no experience in the schools. We are able to advise you on what works, and what teacher's are willing and able to do. We also often provide home based ideas and interventions.

We see students from schools in Coquitlam, Vancouver, New Westminster, Maple ridge as well as many who travel from more isolated parts of the province.

We are also able to complete assessments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or "Aspergers."

The cost of a psychoeducational assessment is never more than $2,400. While MSP does not cover this expense much of it is often covered by an individuals extended health care. Please check with your provider, as each plan is different.

Finally, a reminder. We need permission from BOTH parents before proceeding with an assessment of any child. And yes, we do assessments for young adults in college or university, and adults having difficulty in the workplace.