Autism Evaluations

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a wide range of disorders that present difficulties in socialization. Unfortunately, an official autism diagnosis can be difficult and confusing for children and their caregivers. However, at Primary Care Partners of South Bend, we want to make the process easier. Dr. Mary Hope Griffin is certified in autism evaluations and diagnosis in children up to 42 months. While Dr. Griffin is specially trained in these areas, our entire staff can provide primary care to children with autism. 

Symptoms of Autism

Symptom severity can vary widely from child to child. Therefore, ASD can sometimes be noticeable during infancy. However, high-functioning children with autism may not be diagnosed until later in life. These signs are commonly seen in children with autism.

Infancy Symptoms

  • Lack of eye-contact
  • Over-focusing on a particular item
  • Not responding to play stimuli

Toddler Symptoms

  • Showing little interest in social interaction
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding communication
  • Poor eye contact
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Delay in speaking

Early Childhood Symptoms

  • Difficulty learning
  • Inappropriate social interaction
  • Misunderstanding social cues
  • Not engaging in play with peers
  • Repetitive or compulsive movements or behaviors
  • Intense focus on particular objects
  • Abnormal posture or facial responses
  • Developing strange words or phrases
  • Monotonous speech
  • Showing little empathy

If you notice these symptoms in your child, it is beneficial to schedule an appointment with your primary doctor to determine if further evaluation ins necessary. Overall, Primary Care Partners of South Bend wants to give parents the answers they need while giving children the respect they deserve. Therefore, if you notice these symptoms in your child, request an appointment online, or call us at (574) 251-1200.

How Do We Diagnose ASD?

To diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dr. Mary Hope Griffin utilizes the STAT Exam. STAT stands for “Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and young children“. The STAT exam was developed as an interactive test to identify autism in ages 18-42 months old. Unfortunately, most children with ASD do not receive a diagnosis until around age 5. With the STAT Exam, however, diagnosis and treatment can begin as early as 18 months so your child can get the help they need during key development.

Dr. Griffin performs this test because there is much less of a wait for an available assessment appointment. Therefore, your child can receive a diagnosis early and receive treatment during the crucial developing ages of 18-42 months. During the exam, your child will play freely with 12 different items, resulting in a low-stress experience. Dr. Griffin assesses key behaviors such as communication, request, imitation, and attention while your child is at play with these items. Additionally, the chosen toys are the most effective in differentiating autistic behavior from other disorders in young children. Importantly, our autism evaluations help your child get an official diagnosis easier so you can begin a treatment plan earlier.

The STAT exam is calm and enjoyable for the child. Additionally, it is less time-consuming and confusing for caregivers than traditional autism evaluations. Our goal at Primary Care Partners of South Bend is to diagnose children younger and therefore create a treatment plan earlier. If you have concerns about your child’s development and would like a further assessment, work through your child’s primary physician and they can refer you to Dr. Griffin for a STAT Exam.

Questions and Concerns

For further questions about symptoms, testing, and treatment, please give us a call at (574) 251-1200 or contact us online. Additionally, we encourage you to voice any and all concerns during your child’s well-child visit. We are here to understand and treat children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with respect and integrity.

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