Autism Evaluations

That's Pediatrics
Assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Roundtable Discussion with Four Pediatric Psychologists

In our new "That's Pediatrics" podcast episode, hear directly from four psychologists from the Behavioral Science Division.

Listen to the episode »

The Behavioral Science Division at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh provides your child with the most effective, up-to-date care.

Per the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (2020), 1 in 36 children will receive an Autism Spectrum diagnosis in their lifetime. If your family is navigating this potential reality, know that you are not alone.

The psychologists within the Behavioral Science Division provide comprehensive evaluation services for families who are interested in learning if their child meets the diagnostic criteria for an Autism Spectrum Disorder. As part of the evaluation process, our provides will make evidenced-based recommendations and connect you with helpful resources in your area.

Assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The main role of our psychologists is to decide if a child does or does not have ASD.

Symptoms of ASD include:

  • Trouble with communication and social skills.
  • Narrow, repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

If a child does not have ASD, our experts can diagnose other disorders, such as:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Anxiety.
  • Specific fears.
  • Disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Selective mutism.
  • Speech/language disorders.

What to Expect at Your Child's Autism Evaluation at UPMC Children's

Our clinic sees children between the ages of 18 months and 7 years.

A standard assessment can take 2 to 3 hours. For kids ages 5 to 7, it may take up to 5 hours.

During your child's assessment, our psychologists will:

  • Review records from teachers, therapists, and doctors.
  • Interview you (parents or caregivers).
  • Use standardized cognitive and behavioral development tests, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2).

Then, our psychologists will:

  • Diagnose and decide your child's most pressing needs.
  • Create treatment plans.
  • Connect you with the best therapies for your child.

Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)

Our psychologists also conduct PCIT with children ages 2 to 7 years old and their families.

PCIT aims to:

  • Enhance the relationship between you and your child.
  • Reduce or eliminate disruptive behaviors and increase positive ones.
  • Improve emotion regulation skills.
  • Increase compliance and listening skills.

PCIT uses cutting-edge, bug-in-the-ear technology to give live coaching to parents.

Children and their parents or caregivers attend weekly sessions for 12 to 20 weeks to complete PCIT.

Learn more about Autism Evaluations within the Behavioral Science Division at UPMC Children’s.

Medicina del Desarrollo en UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.