CPD clinic offers interdisciplinary evaluation of autism

By Sue Reeves


Often, the diagnosis of autism comes from a single professional—a psychologist, a medical doctor, a social worker—and parents are left with that diagnosis, but no clue about what to do next. Who should they see, where should they go to find the help their child needs?

The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Evaluation Clinic at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities is taking a different approach.

“We realized that one of the complaints of parents of kids with ASD is that they have to go six different places to get help,” said clinical psychologist Marty Toohill. “We asked, ‘Can we do this under one roof?’”

Sue Olsen, CPD Director of Exemplary Services and the clinic’s administrator, said that in addition to the “gold standards” of autism testing—the Autism Developmental Inventory (ADI) and the Autism Developmental Observation Schedule (ADOS)—the clinic evaluation team also conducts speech/language evaluations, occupational therapy evaluations including sensory processing and overall motor development, and medical evaluations through the CPD Biomedical Division to determine if there are any genetic or other health reasons that can contribute to the diagnosis.

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CPD by the numbers

150 families aided by the ASD Evaluation Clinic since it opened in March 2011.

Autism research paper accepted for publication

A research paper by Judith Holt and Keith Christensen entitled “Utahns’ understanding of autism spectrum disorder” has been accepted for publication by Disability and Health Journal.

The purpose of the study, which was conducted by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) between June and September 2010, was to determine the public’s understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its prevalence, characteristics and treatment, as well as the source of that knowledge. It was funded by a federal grant associated with the Combating Autism Act Initiative of 2006.

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