The Autism Assessment Program
Our clinicians provide state-of-the-art clinical assessments, among the best available in the world today. Their work also supports autism research across programs at Mount Sinai and enhances communication between the various programs and individual investigators, generating new ideas and innovative opportunities for outstanding clinical and basic science research.
Through the Autism Clinical Program, patients receive optimal care from our clinician-scientists, including research-quality diagnostic assessments, psychiatric evaluations, and genetic testing. All patients are also encouraged to contribute their assessment results to our confidential database, strengthening our clinical research program. Assessment results are compiled into a comprehensive report for families and include specific treatment and educational recommendations that can be used to obtain services.
Diagnostic Testing uses gold standard diagnostic instruments to provide the highest level of sensitivity and specificity in making the diagnosis of autism and related conditions. Clinicians with specialized training in autism utilize several diagnostic tools, including the Autism Diagnostic Interview and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, for both research and clinical diagnoses.
Psychiatric Evaluations are performed to obtain a comprehensive review of psychiatric symptoms to better understand the associated features and diagnostic comorbidity of autism and related conditions. Because autism is a complex and heterogeneous disorder, the results of these evaluations are crucial to optimizing treatment outcomes. Our clinicians gather important information about every patient's medical, developmental, and family histories, as well as a thorough review of systems to determine the need for medical consultation with our colleagues who specialize in gastrointestinal disease, neurological disorders including epilepsy, allergy and immunology, eating and weight disorders, nutrition, sleep medicine, and many others.
Genetic Testing is available to all patients who participate in Seaver Autism Center research. Our clinicians work directly with our clinical geneticists to carry out basic and advanced genetic analyses on all consenting families. Our genetic testing can determine an etiological diagnosis in more than 20% of families, and this information may have important ramifications for predicting recurrence risk in families and identifying new genes in autism.
Psychoeducational/Neuropscyhological Testing consists of cognitive testing (IQ), academic achievement testing, and projective testing where indicated.
IQ/Cognitive Testing sessions are individualized based on patient's age, language ability, and referral question. The experience of our clinicians with the distinct learning styles of individuals with autism and related conditions facilitates testing with diverse populations and yields crucial information about cognitive functioning. Areas of assessment include, but are not limited to, intelligence, attention, language, executive functions, and motor planning. Test data are integrated with other evaluation data to assess individual strengths and weaknesses and develop individualized treatment plans that maximize potential and target areas of deficit in each patient.
Academic Achievement Testing ensures that patients are receiving adequate educational accommodations and identifies areas that require additional support or a special education curriculum. The results of these tests may also be used to tailor individualized education plans (IEPs) already in place through the New York City Board of Education.
Early Intervention (EI) Evaluations ensures that patients are receiving adequate educational accommodations and identifies areas that require additional support or a special education curriculum. The results of these tests may also be used to tailor individualized education plans (IEPs) already in place through the New York City Board of Education.
Behavioral/Personality Testing. Our team of clinicians is widely trained in both behavioral and personality assessment. Behavioral evaluations include evaluation of differential diagnoses and co-morbid behaviors (e.g., anxiety, disruptive behaviors) and functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) in home and school settings for problem behaviors. In addition, projective testing may be utilized to better understand the associated features of autism and related conditions and other diagnostic comorbidity in a given patient. Projective Testing provides extremely important information about individuals' personality characteristics, self-esteem, and coping skills, among other domains.