Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Chicago, Illinois

Every child should see a doctor or an early childhood health care practitioner for regular checkups. Autism can be diagnosed in youngsters as young as 14 months of age, according to the Autism Society. Primary care practitioners are often the first to informally diagnose individuals with ASD.

The Emergence of ASD Symptoms

As ASD is defined as someone who learns skills differently from most others, its symptoms are more difficult to notice in the early stages. It’s common for first-time parents to wait months before approaching healthcare practitioners about their child’s possible speech delay or attention deficiency. Diagnosis and treatment should ideally begin as soon as possible. Early identification of children with ASD is critical to understanding the best way to support their growth.

autism diagnosed by a Chicago practitioner

It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children be screened for delays in development at the age of 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months during their well-child visits, with a focus on autism screenings at the ages of 18 and 24 months.

Early Development

Acquiring skills like language and social interaction are examples of what we call “milestones” in a child’s development. A delay in reaching a particular developmental milestone does not always point to autism, but sometimes it is recommended to check in with your child’s primary physician or pediatrician for an evaluation. For some individuals, the onset of autism symptoms might be delayed by as much as two years, which is why consistency with evaluations is crucial in early childhood.

Referrals for Assessment

Developmental delays in children may be a symptom of autism spectrum disorder. Children who exhibit signs of developmental delays may be sent for further examination by their health care practitioner throughout this screening procedure. Children with ASD should be identified and diagnosed as soon as possible to have a better understanding of their distinctive abilities and limitations.

If a child is suspected of having autism spectrum disorder or another developmental problem, the child may be referred by a Chicago healthcare practitioner for more testing or assessment. Although it’s not known the exact reasons of ASD emerging, notable risk factors include: a diagnosis of ASD in the immediate or extended family, low birth weight, or complications with pregnancy.

Diagnostic Assessments in Chicago, IL

A diagnostic examination will be conducted by a team of health care specialists who have previously diagnosed ASD. Children’s neurologists, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, child psychologists, and psychiatrists, as well as occupational therapists, may be on this team.

It is likely that the diagnostic assessment will involve medical and neurological testing, which will evaluate a child’s cognitive and linguistic abilities. This will also include an in-depth discussion with the child’s parents or guardians about his or her behavior and development; an evaluation of age-appropriate abilities needed to do everyday tasks such as eating, dressing, and toileting independently. Observations and semi-structured engagement sessions can also be used to support a diagnosis or during an assessment.

Some comprehensive testing may include blood and hearing tests which will determine the existence of other potential disorders due to the complexity of ASD.

Illinois Insurance Coverage and Assessments

You may be unsure about what to anticipate if your child has been diagnosed with autism and referred for an assessment. Insurance companies require this assessment before they can pay for your child’s treatment services. You may be asked about your child’s background, family history, diagnosis, treatment history, strengths and limitations, behavior, and treatment objectives.

It will be up to the BCBA to analyze all of your child’s intake documentation and diagnostic reports, and assessment notes to gather all of the material to submit to your health insurer. For more specific information about insurance coverage ASD assessment and ABA treatment, please see our page on Insurance and Funding.

What to Expect During an Assessment

Assessment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) should include age-appropriate measures of cognitive development and preparedness as well as social communication and involvement in all its forms. Standards-based evaluations, such as the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills – Revised (ABLLS-R) and the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). An individual’s ability to communicate and perform basic tasks independently is assessed using these two typical evaluations.


The results of this assessment are utilized to tailor each child’s treatment plan depending on their existing linguistic and functional abilities. A child’s behavior is observed in each of the 25 skill categories of the ABLLS-R assessment, including self-help, academic, and gross motor skills.

To do this, the teacher will provide the student with a “stimulus” in order to evaluate the student’s skills based on the behaviors that the student takes and does not engage in, in what is called an assessment of behavior. Used in conjunction with parents’ and other educators’ feedback, this assessment is a benchmark for tracking your child’s development in certain skill areas, and it’s given annually or biannually.


Children between the ages of two and six may benefit from the VB-MAPP, which focuses on language and social development. Based on behaviorist B.F. Skinner’s description of verbal behavior, the VB-MAPP provides a task analysis of language abilities based on the theory of verbal operants. This is a behavioral approach which involves breaking down verbal behavior and communication into smaller working parts.

The evaluation and curriculum in the VB-MAPP place an emphasis on comparison to skill competency in normally developing young children.It also acts as a benchmark to measure your child’s growth in specified skill areas when administered semi-regularly.

Assessment Outcome

There may be a formal diagnosis and therapy recommendations as an outcome of your child’s assessment/s. An early diagnosis of ASD can help parents and their team decide on the most appropriate treatment options for their child.

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