Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Autism Spectrum Disorders, also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is a term that describes a set of neuro-developmental disorders that affect how individuals communicate, interact socially, and behave. Within this spectrum there are three specific disorder subtypes: Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
Click here to view the What Are Autism Spectrum Disorders information sheet.
What is the ASD Clinic at CPRI?
The ASD Clinic at CPRI has been in existence since 1981. It consists of a team of clinicians who offer assessment and treatment (primarily consultative) services to individuals with ASD and their families.
Professional disciplines represented within the ASD Clinic include: Psychiatry; Psychology; Psychometry; Social Work; Behaviour Analysts; Community Behaviour Consultants; Occupational Therapy; Speech-Language Pathology; Education Liaison; Case Management Co-ordination.
Click here to view our Program Brochure.
The ASD Clinic accepts referrals for children/youth up to 18 years of age. Referrals may be made for assessment services or treatment services.
- Assessment services are appropriate for individuals suspected of having a ASD.
- Treatment services are appropriate for individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD or PDD (Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, PDD – NOS) who present with problem behaviour that negatively impacts their ability to function in their family and community.
Referrals for the ASD Clinic are accepted from any source (parents, professionals, etc.) and can be submitted through CPRI's intake department at (519) 858-2774 extension 2024.
Where Can I find more information about Autism Spectrum Disorder/Pervasive Developmental Disorder?
There is a lot of information available about the diagnosis of ASD/PDD. Many approaches to treatment exist; some of which are supported by quality research and others that are not. People who are looking for information about ASD are encouraged to consider carefully where information comes from and to evaluate for themselves whether they think it appropriate for their child/youth and family.
CPRI's Family Resource Centre library has many books and videos about ASD. Also, information about the disorder and services in the community may be available from registered organizations such as Autism Ontario.
ASD Assessment Services - Diagnosis
There are three assessment options for the diagnosis of ASD/PDD. The most appropriate option is determined based on the presenting needs of children/youth being referred:
- Screening Clinic - When a child/youth is suspected of having an ASD, he/she is referred to the Screening Clinic for ASD, formerly the PDD Screening Clinic. In existence since 2005, the screening clinic is intended as a "first look" to evaluate the likelihood that a child/youth has an ASD. Following a screening clinic appointment, decisions are made about what next steps appear to be most appropriate based on information that has been gathered about the child/youth. Click here to view the What is the Screening Clinic for ASD information sheet.
- Diagnostic Clinic - After individuals have been seen at the Screening Clinic, those who are determined to be "likely" to have an ASD diagnosis are referred for a more comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation is completed by a child psychiatrist and may be supported by a psychological assessment and/or a speech-language pathology evaluation.
- Psychiatric Assessment - When a child/youth is referred with a question about a possible ASD diagnosis from another service of CPRI (who is already involved), or when someone is seeking a second opinion about diagnosis, an appointment is arranged with one of the psychiatrists who work with the ASD Clinic. An appointment will be arranged for the psychiatrist to meet the child/youth and to complete a thorough evaluation.
Options about what assessment service is most appropriate are determined by the CPRI intake service based on information provided by the child/youth's family and/or the person who is submitting the referral.
Clinical Consult Appointment
Sometimes, when new referrals come to the ASD Clinic in which a child/youth has a previous diagnosis of ASD, a clinical consult appointment is arranged. This meeting is intended to give clinicians from the ASD Clinic the opportunity to meet a child/youth and his/her family for the purpose of reviewing his/her early development, diagnostic and medical history and current concerns. Usually, a clinical consult appointment is completed by a psychiatrist and the ASD case management co-ordinator. Other clinicians might become involved also, if needed. After the clinical consult appointment, ASD clinicians make recommendations about service options that appear to be most appropriate.
Click here to view the What is a Clinical Consult information sheet
Treatment options provided by the ASD Clinic are:
- Offered in accordance with CPRI's mandate to provide tertiary level services.
- Intended primarily to provide information and consultation to the parents and caregivers who live and work with the child/youth with ASD.
- Intended to help parents/caregivers understand better children/youth with an ASD diagnosis (on an individualized level) in terms of recognizing how symptoms of the diagnosis might contributes to problem behaviour and what supports might be necessary to enhance learning.
Referrals can be submitted either through CPRI's intake department or from another CPRI clinician who is currently involved. All referrals are reviewed by the clinical team. Referrals are co-ordinated by the ASD Clinic's case management co-ordinator.
Treatment services may include:
Group training provides information about the diagnosis of ASD/PDD (including core and associated areas of impairment), services available (including community supports, education), and targeting specific behaviour goals.
Foundations to Treatment
The Foundations to Treatment (FTT) parent/caregiver information sessions are often offered to families who have newly diagnosed children/youth and/or who are new to the ASD Clinic. They run on an “as needed” basis during the year, usually over the course of two days. The intent of the FTT sessions is to provide parents with specific information about the diagnosis of ASD and how many of the associated features of the diagnosis (including sensory processing problems, communication difficulties, etc.) might contribute to the overall profile of a child/youth.
During the FTT sessions, presentations are completed by clinicians who work in the ASD Clinic. Topics covered included:
- The medical diagnosis of ASD/PDD and pharmaceutical management options (presented by psychiatry)
- Family support services (presented by social work)
- Psychometry – what does it all mean? (presented by psychology)
- School: my child's special education (presented by education liaison)
- Behaviour and ASD: associations with communication, sensory processing and other internal issues
Positive Parenting Program (Triple P)
The Triple P program is intended for parents who have already attended the FTT sessions and/or for parents of children/youth who have had previous involvement with the ASD Clinic (formerly the PDD Program). Triple P consists of 8 weeks of parent training sessions that are designed to help parents better understand their children (in terms of both diagnosis and any assessments that have been completed), to learn how to set appropriate goals, and to begin to learn behavioural strategies that can help toward achieving such goals. The groups are usually led by community behaviour consultants from the ASD Clinic and they consist of only a few families each. This gives parents a chance to work closely with the community behaviour consultants and to learn from each other as well. The groups are highly interactive, with information for each week building on that from earlier weeks. Groups run several times a year and may be offered in morning, afternoon or evening sessions.
Individualized services (when problem behaviour is extreme and/or there are exceptional family circumstances)
Sometimes, when the needs of the child/youth with ASD and/or his/her family exceed the services that can be provided from either FTT or Triple P, the ASD Clinic provides individualized consultative behavioural support. Typically, this service is needed when children/youth present with dangerous self-injurious behaviour, aggressive or destructive behaviour that has the potential to harm others seriously, and/or when family circumstances are exceptional. Often, individualized consultative behaviour support services involve a team of clinicians from the ASD Clinic. These may include: a psychologist, community behaviour consultant, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and/or a social worker. Length and intensity of service involvement is dependent on the needs of the child/youth and the goal(s) being addressed.
Clinical Articles about Autism Spectrum Disorders
ASD Connector Newsletter Archives
ASD Clinic - Upcoming Education Opportunities