Testing for Autism:
Early diagnosis leads to early intervention, and (specifically ABA Therapy) is key to building the brightest future for any child diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
LittleStar offers diagnostic testing for children with developmental concerns. Let us explain our process:
Parents may have an early inclination that their child is struggling developmentally. In this case, consulting your pediatrician with concerns is always the best first course of action. If the physician feels that your child would benefit from further testing and diagnosis, they will refer you to our center, where a licensed clinical psychologist will complete your child’s testing.
Once the physician’s referral is received, the LittleStar insurance department will submit your insurance information for benefits eligibility. When this is completed our diagnostic coordinator will reach out to you to schedule your appointments. Testing is a two–step process consisting of an initial diagnostic interview; followed by a brief report submitted to your insurance written by the clinical psychologist. Upon receiving insurance approval, the testing session will be conducted with your child.
During your testing appointment, a licensed clinical psychologist will conduct a diagnostic evaluation to determine the presence of a neurodevelopmental disorder such as Autism. The evaluation will include the use of a variety of standardized assessments and rating scales, including the use of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). Additional cognitive or behavioral assessments may be completed if indicated or as insurance requires.
Parents are an integral part of the testing process and will be asked to provide detailed information on their child’s early developmental history. Parents of young children will also be asked to accompany them throughout the testing period. Immediately following your child’s testing, the psychologist will provide you with a brief summary of the findings with initial recommendations. A final written report will be sent to you within 3 weeks of testing.
Upon completion of the evaluation report, you will meet with the Psychologist and the Diagnostic Coordinator for the follow-up meeting. At this meeting we will review the report and answer any questions. If the testing resulted in a positive diagnosis for autism, we will discuss therapy options and provide suggestions for next steps. Also, at that time, you will be given copies of the diagnostic report and with your consent a copy will be faxed to the referring physician.
If ABA therapy is recommended, an intake services team member will be available to assist you through the enrollment process.
If a child has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and if ABA Therapy is recommended, they will participate in a clinical assessment for ABA Therapy. Recommendations are made about the need and intensity of programming and the appropriate location of services (for example, the number of hours of ABA Therapy needed each week and whether therapy should take place in the community or in-center).
At LittleStar, the assessment is performed by our team, which includes a Clinical Director, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and other technicians, as needed. Based on the findings of the assessment, recommendations are made about the need and intensity of programing (for example, the number of hours ABA Therapy would be needed each week). The assessment report is generally available within two weeks.
In order to proceed with enrollment at LittleStar, we will work closely with your insurance company. Once approved, a start date will be arranged.
Testing during COVID-19
At LittleStar, we understand that concerns about your child’s development do not go away as a result of the pandemic. More than ever, families are in need of help and support and deserve to receive answers during this stressful time.
We have currently adapted our testing process during COVID-19 in order to complete autism testing with your child as safely as possible. During the pandemic, all initial intake appointments will be completed via telehealth. Your child’s testing may also be completed via telehealth if deemed necessary by the psychologist. Testing in our clinic will occur for patients who can safely abide by social distancing procedures, and includes many modifications made for your safety, including the use of relevant PPE and sanitizing procedures.
How do I know if my child needs to be evaluated?
The CDC website provides valuable information on possible red flags for ASD: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/screening.html
Does my child need a physician’s referral for testing?
Yes, we do require a physician referral, indicating why autism testing is deemed medically necessary.
Why do I have to complete 2 appointments?
Many insurance companies require prior authorization to be obtained before testing can be completed. Following the initial interview, our psychologist will submit documentation to your insurance company to request the hours needed for testing.
Do you take my insurance?
LittleStar accepts most insurance plans, including Medicaid. Our insurance department will verify eligibility prior to the scheduling of appointments.
Meet our Psychologist
Dr. Lauryn Toby is a licensed clinical psychologist and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst with over 10 years’ experience working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dr. Toby received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Illinois State University and completed her doctoral internship and fellowship at the Neurobehavioral Unit – Outpatient Clinic at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her background and training is in the assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders utilizing the techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Dr. Toby has previously taught courses in Applied Behavior Analysis for the Master’s in ABA program at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She has published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has been a contributing author to multiple books on the topic of co-morbid conditions in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
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