Diagnostic Autism Evaluations

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Ceri Coffield
Autism Team Leader
The Greenbush Inter-disciplinary Autism Diagnostic Team aims to help remove barriers to accessing diagnostic developmental appointments for children in the Southeast Kansas area.  The inter-disciplinary team is composed of an early childhood special education instructor, an audiologist, a speech language pathologist, an early childhood educator, two school psychologists, a functional classroom teacher, pediatricians within the area, and the University of Kansas Center for Childhood Health and Development.  Training for the team was established by the University of Kansas. 
The Center for Disease Control released data in 2014 revealing the prevalence of Autism as 1 in 68.  As the prevalence of this developmental disability increases, this reinforces the importance of diagnosing Autism early.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a specific screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder at the 18 and 24 month visits or any time there is a concern.  An appropriate screening tool is the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT-R).  The MCHAT-R can be found at https://www.m-chat.org/ or downloaded below.  Absolute indicators for a developmental referral as identified by the American Academy of Neurology are:  no babbling or gesturing by 12 months, no single words by 16 months, no functional 2 word phrases by 24 months, or the loss or regression of skills at any age.


Ages & Stages


What does the diagnostic team do?
Provide autism evaluations in partnership with area physicians for a medical diagnosis if appropriate.
Who is on our team?
• Early childhood educator
• Early childhood special education teacher
• Speech pathologist
• Audiologist
• School psychologist (Tri-County)
• School psychologist (SEK Interlocal)
• Functional education teacher (Tri-County)
All of these team members have received diagnostic training provided by the University of Kansas.
The team works with the following medical professionals to complete the diagnostic evaluation.
Dr. McFarland
Dr. Pence
Dr. Bertram
University of Kansas Center for Childhood Health and Development
How do you refer a child for an evaluation?
A positive screening is needed to make a referral. A Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT-R) is used for children 16 to 30 months of age. For children 30 months to 5 years a Social-Emotional Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ:SE) can be used. A Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) screening is the tool utilized for school age children.
What does an appointment look like?
Appointments are 1.5- 2 hours in length. The parents or guardians accompany the child to the appointment at Greenbush. Parents complete an interview portion so the team may learn more about the child’s daily routines, how they interact with others, what their play skills look like, and how they communicate. The child participates in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) evaluation to look at communication, interactions and play skills with others. Following this evaluation, the team members score the standardized assessments and write a detailed report. This report is sent to the team pediatrician and the physician makes the diagnosis if appropriate.