For individuals in the Northeast and across the United States
So you’ve been wondering… Do I have autism?
You might have always felt different from others. Perhaps you’ve always wondered – What’s so different about me? Do I experience the world in a different way than other people do? What do I even call what I’m experiencing? Am I just lazy? Too sensitive? You’ve been looking for answers but you’re not sure where to start.
Maybe you’ve been wondering your whole life whether Autism might fit your experience. Maybe others have suggested this as a possibility to you as well. However you’ve gotten here, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you find answers. Polaris Psychology offers comprehensive psychological assessment, tailored to your unique needs to help you get the answers you need to move forward.
What is an autism assessment?
An autism assessment, also referred to as a psychological evaluation for Autism, is a thorough, comprehensive psychological assessment designed to understand your individual circumstances and determine whether you meet diagnostic criteria for Autism.
This is a comprehensive evaluation administered by a highly qualified clinical psychologist with expertise in autism spectrum disorders. The main goal is to gain a profound understanding of an individual’s cognitive and emotional functioning, behaviors, and overall psychological well-being in the context of autism.
Could it be something other than Autism?
Like with all formal comprehensive psychological evaluations, there is overlap between the diagnosis in question (Autism) and other diagnoses with similar features. This is what makes our practice’s evaluations comprehensive. We assess whether your experience is best captured by the diagnosis/diagnoses in question or if there are other diagnostic labels that could better describe things. There are many things that can overlap with Autism, or co-occur. Our evaluations will look at the many different puzzle pieces of your life to help best determine whether it is Autism.
Autism assessments to fit your unique journey
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Where does the assessment happen?
At our practice, we go above and beyond to ensure your autism evaluation experience is both seamless and tailored to your needs. We understand that distance can be a barrier. That’s why we offer the flexibility of traveling to a location near you, bringing our expertise right to your doorstep. But that’s not all – we also want to make the process as comfortable as possible for you. That’s why we’ve made parts of the assessment, such as the comprehensive intake and feedback session, available for remote participation, so you can complete them from the cozy confines of your own home. With our commitment to accessibility and convenience, your path to understanding and support becomes that much smoother.
The Autism Assessment Process
Step 1: Starting Your Journey Towards Understanding Autism
Schedule your no-cost initial discussion to delve into the particulars of an autism assessment. We’ll determine how our assessment aligns with what you’re seeking. Reserve your consultation to start the conversation about your autism-related inquiries. Click here to schedule some time on my calendar today.
Step 2: Undertaking a Detailed Autism Spectrum Evaluation
The autism assessment process is an exploration of your life story, current context, and behavioral patterns. A thorough analysis helps ascertain if your life experiences resonate with the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder.
Step 3: Participation in Targeted Autism Testing
A variety of assessments are conducted to understand your social, communicative, and behavioral patterns. These evaluations are crucial in providing a detailed view of autism-related traits.
Step 4: Integrating Insights from Your Autism Assessment
The various layers of information from your assessment are carefully analyzed. This integral step benefits from the nuanced perspective that a testing psychologist brings to the table.
Step 5: Autism Assessment Debrief with Dr. Amanda Mead
We’ll discuss the results of your evaluation in a feedback session. This virtual meeting offers you the opportunity to understand the assessment findings, clarify your questions, and discuss accommodations or therapeutic approaches that may be beneficial for you.
Step 6: Highlighting Your Unique Capabilities Post-Autism Assessment
The final phase of your assessment emphasizes your personal strengths. Dr. Mead will assist in sharing your evaluation to other healthcare providers, if desired, to support your ongoing care.
Frequently Asked Questions
Clinical psychologists specializing in psychological assessment possess unique, extensive experience, rigorous training, and ongoing supervision, making them uniquely qualified to conduct formal psychological evaluations. Unlike a cursory understanding gained from a brief workshop, these professionals have dedicated years at the highest level of psychological training to mastering the intricate nuances involved in interpreting diverse data gathered during the assessment. Their expertise enables them to analyze and synthesize complex information, draw accurate conclusions, and provide comprehensive insights into an individual’s psychological functioning. Trusting a clinical psychologist for a formal psychological evaluation ensures that the assessment is conducted with the highest level of professionalism, expertise, and ethical standards, resulting in accurate and meaningful findings that can guide treatment decisions and foster personal growth.
You are worth the investment.
A comprehensive psychological evaluation for Autism is an investment of time, energy, and money. The cost for a $6,985, which covers the cost of the clinical interview, testing, the comprehensive written report, and the feedback session.
Investing in a comprehensive psychological evaluation for Autism is a valuable tool that can support your mental health journey by providing professional analysis. Our comprehensive assessments allow for the considerable complexity that often develops in the assessment process and can adapt with you in examining your unique qualities.
Psychological assessment can also help you identify in a comprehensive, in-depth way what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your challenges are, and how to most effectively help you overcome your challenges, without the years of trial and error.
Comprehensive diagnostic evaluations are also an investment on my end as a testing psychologist. I bring all of my training, experience, heart, and soul to thoroughly investigate your experience and your story, carefully documenting it all in one comprehensive report. As I wholeheartedly dedicate myself to delivering these evaluations, I kindly ask for your reciprocal commitment and investment.
In order to best serve you and your unique needs for a psychological assessment, we are not currently accepting insurance. By not accepting insurance, we are able to fully invest our time, energy, training, and expertise in best serving and understanding you and your unique needs without limitation. This means we can spend however much time might be needed to best evaluate, understand, and provide for you.
Depending on your personal preferences and insurance plan, you may be able to use your insurance provider to pursue full or partial reimbursement for our services as an “out-of-network provider”. We can provide you with documentation to seek reimbursement for these assessments.
The assessment process encompasses structured interviews, a battery of standardized tests, and systematic observations specifically tailored to assess key aspects of autism, including social communication skills, sensory sensitivities, repetitive behaviors, and other relevant traits.
The assessment process is designed to provide in-depth insights into an individual’s unique profile and whether it aligns within the autism spectrum, identifying strengths and challenges. These findings serve as a foundation for tailored treatment planning, enabling the development of individualized recommendations and strategies aimed at improving overall well-being and personal growth, whether it is within the context of autism or other diagnoses that may better capture one’s experience and presentation.
Ultimately, this formalized autism psychological assessment serves as a critical tool to enhance our understanding of an individual’s specific needs, enabling informed decisions and interventions to support mental health and quality of life.
Consider bringing something to drink and eat. As testing is several hours long, we want you to be comfortable throughout this process!
Possibly. Psychological assessments are focused on evaluating you and finding the best ways to describe what is happening in your life. This often does involve finding a diagnosis or diagnoses that best capture your experience. However, it is important to consider that evaluations are focused on evaluating you and if fitting, giving you a diagnosis. A diagnosis is not guaranteed, but they are often a product of an evaluation.
Typically, the report is finalized within four weeks after our final meeting.
A note on language for Autism
Many training programs and autism-centered literature staffed by non-autistic professionals use the term “person with autism.” The idea is that this decentralizes autism and looks at the person first. However, many Autistic people prefer to be called an Autistic person for many reasons, some of which are listed below:
- “Person with autism” suggests autism should be decentralized, and it assumes autism to be a disorder. Although many Autistic people are disabled due to being in a world that is not in tune with their sensory, social, or learning needs, we do not believe Autism is inherently a disorder or disease. Thus the reasons we would say “person WITH cancer” do not apply. We believe autism is a valid, divergent way of being human that is an overall advantage.
- The phrasing, “People with Autism,” has often been associated with groups that purport to be representing the best interests of Autistic people, but have typically excluded the voices of Autistic people (e.g. Autism Speaks). This has led to pathologizing language, dehumanizing of Autistic people, and support of “cures” which have been damaging to Autistic individuals.
Ultimately, it is up to every person to decide how to define themselves.
We include this note on language, as Autism will be referred to throughout reports as Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is not because this practice suggests that they believe Autism is a disorder, but due to the likelihood that this report will be read by multiple different types of audience members. As this report may be read by other medical providers, the formal diagnostic term is included. This practice has deep respect for neurodivergent individuals and wants to ensure that the language included in our reports is being given considerable thought and attention.