“A serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.”
In order for Spark to make a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, it is necessary to demonstrate the following three key areas.
- (1) persistent failure of the child to engage in normal back and forth conversation with others through reduced sharing of interests or emotions or,
- (2) complete withdrawal from interacting with others.
- (1) abnormalities in eye contact or body language
- (2) deficits in the understanding and use of nonverbal communication such as facial expressions or gestures, or
- (3) total lack of any facial expression.
In addition, the student must also demonstrate deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to the child’s development level, as evidenced by difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts. This can be seen in a child’s difficulty in sharing imaginative play and making friends or an apparent lack of interest in people.
Finally, the student has to demonstrate at least two symptoms of restricted, repetitive behaviors or interests.
Spark uses a variety of measures to assess for ASD.
Psychological screenings with the parent, teacher, and possibly the child are conducted using the Behavior Assessment System for Children-3 (BASC-3).
Instruments specific to ASD include:
- The Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
- The Childhood Autism Rating Scales-2 (CARS-2)
- The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS-2)
- The Gilliam Asperger Disorder Scale (GADS)
- The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-3 (GARS-3)
- The Autism Diagnostic Interview-2 (ADI-2).
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