The University Autism Center offers various assessment and treatment services for families.
As a Missouri Autism Center, our primary goal is to decrease the amount of wait-time a family may experience before being seen by a qualified diagnostic team. With timely and accurate diagnoses, families, school personnel, and medical personnel will be better equipped to provide beneficial treatment for improved outcomes at the earliest age possible.
Our evaluations follow the Missouri Autism Guidelines Initiative publication, “Autism Spectrum Disorders: Missouri Best Practice Guidelines for Screening, Diagnosis and Assessment.”
A diagnostic evaluation aims to detect an autism spectrum or other psychological/developmental disorder. It is carried out by a licensed clinical psychologist and other professionals. If we are not equipped for the type of evaluation required (i.e. those involving complex medical or genetic considerations), we will assist with a referral to an appropriate provider.
This is usually conducted when no recent comprehensive psychological evaluation has been completed or when a suspected other mental health disorder exists. It can measure performance levels, current needs, and the presence of comorbid diagnoses.
Speech Language Evaluations
Speech language evaluations are used to identify the presence of a speech language disorder, social communication abilities, or the need for assistive communication technology.
Behavioral Intervention Services Evaluation
A functional behavior assessment is used to identify antecedents and consequences for behavior. This evaluation is often conducted prior to treatment of aberrant or negative behavior. A skills assessment is used to identify skills deficits and to develop an intervention plan to enhance skills development.
Treatments and Other Services
Behavior Intervention Services offers short-term Focused Treatment Services and long-term Comprehensive Treatment Services in the clinic, school, and community settings.
Behavior Intervention Services include direct intervention services provided by an implementer (Registered Behavior Technician) and supervised by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst in a clinical or natural setting. Interventions include evidence-based behavioral treatment or commonly associated with the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) such as discrete trial training, pivotal response treatment, video modeling, and natural environment training. ABA methodologies have been proven to be effective in developing skills in all areas including communication, social skills, self-help skills, and pre-academic skills.
The behavioral team serves individuals between the ages of 18 months and 21 years with a diagnosis of a spectrum disorder or a developmental delay affecting the following areas of functioning:
Areas Considered for Behavior Intervention Services
- Language and communication
- Social skills
- Play skills
- Self-help/Independent living skills
- Toilet training
- Feeding issues
- Pre-academic skills
- Difficulty following directions (compliance)
- Repetitive and ritualistic behaviors
- Self-injurious behavior (e.g., biting self, hitting head)
- Physical aggression
- Property destruction
- Running away/elopement
Comprehensive Treatment Services
Comprehensive Treatment Services, also known as Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) and Intensive Behavior Intervention (IBI) services, provide intensive behavior services designed to teach children new skills and minimize or eliminate challenging behavior across settings. These services are individualized, developmentally based, and comprehensive. Services are typically provided daily for 15 to 40 hours per week during the early developmental period (18 months to age 5). An emphasis is placed on broad-based developmental and behavioral assessment, intervention planning, training, and follow-up care. The strategies are based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles and include natural environment teaching, principles of verbal behavior, and discrete trial instruction.
Providers make every effort to create a setting that maximizes the child’s successes and minimizes failures. To help accomplish this, we use errorless learning for skill acquisition, provide reinforcement for appropriate behavior, intermix mastered skills with new skills, and simplify requests. Motivation is key to successful sessions and a strong emphasis is placed on identifying and using effective reinforcements with each client.
Ideal Candidates for Comprehensive Services
- 18 months to 5 years of age (EIBI) and 5 years of age to adult (IBI)
- Diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), neurodevelopmental disorder, intellectual disability, or developmental delay
- Significant delays or concerns in three or more of the following areas: language (speech, receptive language, or communication), social skills, emotional regulation, behavior, adaptive skills, or play skills.
Focused Treatment Services
Focused services are short-term behavioral services designed to help clients focus on improving specific skill areas and reducing challenging behavior across settings for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These services take place in the individual’s natural setting and/or clinical setting. Focused services include comprehensive, functional assessments of target skills and behavior, along with consultation, training, and follow-up. The strategies used within focused services are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).
Ideal Candidates for Focused Treatment Services
- Age 3 to 21 years old
- Diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), neurodevelopmental disorder, or developmental delay
- Behavioral, adaptive, and/or communication needs that limit access to natural environments
Speech and Language Services include evidence-based interventions, individualized assessment, and/or treatment within the clinic setting. Consultative services are available upon request.
The Speech-Language Pathologist serves individuals, regardless of age, who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or a related developmental delay affecting the numerous areas of functioning.
Skill Deficit Areas Considered for Speech-Language Services
- Oral motor functioning
- Fine/gross motor influences (including sensory)
- Speech production (pre-speech, phonology, articulation, fluency, and/or voice)
- Auditory processing
- Language (form, content, and/or use)
- Academic achievement
- Joint attention
- Functional communication
- Social cognition
- Executive functioning
- Daily living skills
Type of Speech and Language services provided
- Speech/language assessment (comprehensive or brief)
- Social-communication assessment (comprehensive or brief; may include executive functioning)
- Formal speech/language assessment report with individualized treatment recommendations
- Formal social-communication assessment report with individualized treatment recommendations
- Development of individualized treatment plan
- Implementation of a treatment intervention plan
- Follow-up, monitoring, and adjustments to the treatment intervention plan
- Individualized consultations with outside agencies as requested
- AAC assessment
- Social skills group
Licensed clinical psychologists and licensed counselors offer individualized assessment and/or treatment within the clinic setting. Consultative services are available upon request, as well as provision of professional development for other service providers/locations.
Psychologists and counselors serve individuals, regardless of age, who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder with or without a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis and those who have related mental health issues or behavior that impairs social and adaptive function. Services are provided via individual or family therapy.
Psychologists take the lead on diagnostic evaluations for autism and other mental health disorders.
Affected Areas Considered for Psychological Assessment/Treatment
- Poor interpersonal relationships
- Verbal or physical aggression
- Mood dysregulation
- Behavior difficulties
- Rigid patterns of behavior or thinking
- Poor adjustment
- Difficulty learning
Types of Psychotherapy Services Provided
- Individual Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT):
Therapeutic interventions to address rigid or dysfunctional patterns of thinking that lead to poor mood or adjustment
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Mindfulness-based therapy (for example, Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to address mood regulation and/or impulsive and risky behavior
- Parent Behavior Management Training:
Training on contingency management to increase skill and diminish inattention, hyperactivity, and other difficult behavior. Programs include RUBI Parent Training and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- Family Therapy:
Interventions designed to enhance family adjustment after a diagnosis of ASD
- Differential Diagnosis:
Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, and other mental health disorders