The Early Childhood Autism and Communication Disorders Service specializes in the comprehensive evaluation and early identification of social and communication difficulties in children as young as 12 months of age.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 88 children. ASD can hinder a child's ability to socially interact, communicate, and play. Research tells us that early identification, parent training, and intensive intervention can greatly improve children's lives, giving them the greatest chance of achieving their full potential. If a parent or loved one is concerned that a child may be displaying signs of autism, a comprehensive autism evaluation is recommended.

When to seek treatment?

If your child shows two or more of the signs listed below, an evaluation is recommended. It is important to note that there are no absolute clinical indicators of autism and that the presence of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that your child has autism.

Impairment in social interaction:

  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  • Lack of response to name

Impairment in communication:

  • Lack of showing gestures
  • Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
  • Unusual prosody in speech (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm, unusual voice quality)

Repetitive behaviors and restricted interests:

  • Repetitive movements with objects
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of the body, arms, hands, or fingers
  • Specific narrow interests that the child is very focused on learning or talking about

Evaluations

At the Child Study Center, an evaluation at the Early Childhood Autism and Communication Disorders Service includes three visits with clinical and developmental child psychologists who specialize in evaluating toddlers and young children suspected to have autism or other communication disorders. Evaluations are tailored to the needs of each family and include:

  • behavioral observation
  • parent interviews
  • speech-language evaluation
  • cognitive assessment
  • adaptive ability assessment
  • neuropsychological tests, (i.e., cognitive and achievement tests)
  • the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
  • specialized consults as necessary (e.g. with our psychiatrists)

The tasks administered during the evaluation are designed to be play-based and test the child's beginning understanding of words, as well as concepts such as intention, imitation, and social responsiveness. At the end of the evaluation parents will receive a comprehensive feedback session, detailed recommendations, and an in-depth report. Every evaluation also includes a no-cost Service Navigation consult with our experienced social worker, who will review recommendations and provide support in linking to appropriate therapeutic and educational referrals.

The Child Study Center offers follow-up care for early childhood diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social Communication Disorder. We will use your evaluation to craft an individualized treatment plan and work with you to implement evidence based practices. We offer specialized treatments including Early Social Interaction Therapy and Pivotal Response Treatment.

Our Clinicians

Karina Campos, PsyD
Sarah Kern, LCSW
Ruth Nass, MD
Melissa Nishawala, MD
Elizabeth Roberts, PsyD

Outreach

Our faculty is available for community public education presentations for parents, school personnel, health care providers, and community organizations. Please email csc-speakers@aboutourkids.org for more information or to schedule a speaker.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact an intake coordinator at (646)-754-5000 or email us at services@aboutourkids.org.