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Autism Diagnosis Information

Symptoms and Diagnosing Autism

Autism is often diagnosed as young as 18 months of age, but a diagnosis can be provided throughout an individual’s lifetime. This process is generally completed using a team based approach including, but not limited to, developmental psychiatry, neurology, primary care physicians, and other pediatric services. This team utilizes multiple tools including the ADOS-2 in order to determine a diagnosis of autism through observation, parent interview, and direct testing.

Individuals receiving a diagnosis of autism with regard to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) will typically also receive a severity rating from 1 (requiring support) to 3 (requiring very substantial support).

Treatment Options

There are a variety of resources as it relates to treatment options and we encourage you to review the information on our resources page. Applied Behavior Analysis is the gold standard and only evidence-based and research-support intervention for children on the autism spectrum.

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Regarding Autism

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy or applied behavior analysis is the process of applying the principles of and understanding of behavior change (behavior analysis) to behaviors that are important to that individual, their family, and the community. While applied behavior analysis has been used for decades to help individuals with developmental disabilities and in particular autism, the use of the principles of ABA can be applied to any individual that engages in some form of behavior.

Is there a cure for autism?

Currently there is no cure for autism. Advances are currently being made in the field of genetic research and treatments. Applied Behavior Analysis is currently the only evidence-based and research-supported treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

My child is different than other kids diagnosed with autism. Why is that?

Autism is different for every single child and is referred to as a spectrum. That means that no 2 children are the same and often children will display symptoms in one category but not another. At other times children on the autism spectrum will show signs and symptoms across all areas.

Why is autism called a spectrum disorder?

Autism is referred to as a spectrum due the fact that all children shows signs of autism in different ways. The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition) defines a severity scale of autism based on the number of categories or domains in which a child may display barriers or difficulty with certain skills.

What do the different levels of autism mean?

The different levels come from the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition). Severity level 1 means that an individual requires support. Severity level 2 means that an individual requires substantial support. Severity level 3 means an individual requires very substantial support. Your diagnosing physician will provide the severity rating as an individual is given an autism diagnosis.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Prior to the 5th edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), autism was broken down into different sub categories. Asperger’s Syndrome was often referred to as high functioning autism in which an individual generally only displayed difficulties with social skills and may at times be indistinguishable from peers. This subtype of autism is no longer mentioned in the latest edition but may be referred to as autism 1.

Is it more common in boys or girls?

Autism is 4 times more likely to occur in boys versus girls.

Is autism only diagnosed in children?

Autism is generally diagnosed in children, with early diagnoses occurring at 18 months, however; as our understanding of autism increase individuals may receive a diagnosis at any age throughout their life.

How can I help my child now that he/she has received a diagnosis of autism?

The best way to support your child once you have a diagnosis of autism is to speak to your physician about resources and support available throughout your community. Families should begin seeking services and therapy that are based on research and utilize evidence-based tools to help each of those children. The earlier you seek support and therapy, the better.

The Autism Answer Book: More than 300 of the Top Questions Parents Ask

This is an excellent tool for families dealing with autism. It provides a wealth of questions, answers, and guidance to better support you during this process.

Regarding ACI

Standard hours of operation?

ACI Learning Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30.

Where do you provide services?

ACI primarily provides services at each of our 5 clinics across Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. While the majority of our services take place at our clinic, at times services may be provided in school, in the home, or in the community to supplement our clinic-based services.

Does my child have to have a medical ASD diagnosis?

ACI primarily provides ABA therapy for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. In general, in order for insurance to provide coverage for ABA a medical not school diagnosis is required.

How do you collaborate with my child’s school?

ACI works hand-in-hand with education professionals in order to support each child throughout the therapy. ACI will coordinate care with a school professional, medical professional, or other therapy provider with parental agreement and sign off. We feel that behavioral support and applied behavior analysis is a key component to success across all environments and our team will work with your child’s providers to ensure the best route to success.

How many hours a week are recommended?

The number of recommended ABA therapy hours is determined on an individual basis by using our assessment procedures. ABA is different than speech and OT in that generally children receive 10-40 hours of therapy per week. We will work with you and your family to determine a plan and maximize success of your child through the number of hours of therapy recommended per week.

What does an ABA session look like

ABA therapy at ACI Learning Centers is a fun, engaging, and exciting process that involves embedding learning through natural environment training. This means that for many children therapy feels a bit like play, fun with friends, and some structured learning sessions. We find that children acquire language more quickly, and thus problem behavior is reduced and replaced, when learning is engaging. A child receiving therapy at ACI Learning Centers will learn to play with friends, play on their own, interact with peers and adults, and follow instructions from others through the use of learning occurring in a real world environment.

Does ACI work with a child that is highly aggressive or self-destructive?

Given the limitations in communication that many children on the autism spectrum face, they may often express their wants and needs through aggression, self-injurious behavior, and other forms of problem behavior. ACI Learning Centers can assist in managing these behaviors by teaching child to more effectively communicate, resulting in drastic reductions in problem behavior.

How long do children typically attend ACI?

ABA therapy is different for each child. Some children receive therapy for a few months to a year at a time, while others may require longer durations and higher intensities of treatment. ACI’s clinical team will work with you and your family to help plan the treatment systems, number of hours, and length of time in ABA tailored to your child’s specific needs.

What ages of children do you work with?

ACI Learning Centers works with children as young as 18 months of age and as old as 21 years of age. ABA therapy can be utilized to help and child or young adult learn how to be a production member of society.

Does insurance cover the cost?

In many cases, ABA is a covered benefit under the behavioral or mental health coverage provided by your insurance carrier. Depending on the laws of your state, the coverage options purchased, and the specific benefit provided by your insurance carrier, we find that many families have coverage for ABA therapy as it relates to an autism diagnosis. We encourage you to reach out to better understand your benefits package and how ACI can help you and your family.

What type of training do parents receive?

Parents play a critical role in ABA therapy. We encourage families to come in on a weekly basis to learn the basic principles of ABA, the specific programs in place for your child, and how you can better help them in environments outside of ACI Learning Centers. Our team of professional clinicians are here to help support and teach you the skills to better assist your child whether it be at the grocery store, going out to eat with friends, or going to a peer’s birthday party.

Who will be overseeing my child’s treatment?

All programming is overseen by our team of expertly trained clinical staff. Our team of BCBAs, BCaBAs, and RBTs provided the highest quality ABA programming overseen by experienced BCBAs trained specifically in the field of autism.

More Information Coming Soon

More Information Coming Soon

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