Diagnostic Services

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New Beginnings provides diagnostic services for children ages 18 months and up to assess for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While an online autism test may list common autism traits, an in-person diagnostic evaluation can be used to access therapy and other treatment options. The evaluation is generally composed of tasks that measure intellectual, language, social-emotional, behavioral, and adaptive functioning. Moreover, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition, considered to be the “gold standard” test in assessing for Autism Spectrum Disorder, is administered by a licensed psychologist.

A diagnostic evaluation can tell you more then an autism test alone.Early identification of ASD means early access to intervention, which ultimately improves your child’s prognosis. However, a diagnosis of ASD made in later childhood does not rule out the opportunity for tremendous growth for a child through intervention. Autism traits can often be identified before a child even turns 2-years-old. From predominantly ages 0-3, your child’s brain is evolving and developing the foundation upon which future learning occurs.

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Benefits of a Diagnostic Evaluation

There are several benefits for obtaining a diagnostic evaluation for your child, as doing so ultimately helps your child to be placed on the pathway to success. Overall benefits of receiving a diagnostic evaluation:

  • A diagnostic evaluation will assist in identifying which specific interventions are likely to best enhance your child’s development.
  • The evaluation process allows for a deeper understanding of your child’s unique strengths, upon which these intervention plans can be based.
  • Evaluation findings will also guide recommendations for a child’s educational needs.

Our Psychologists can diagnose the following:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Global Developmental Delay
  • Intellectual Developmental Disorder
  • Language Disorder

How Our Autism Assessment Process Works

Our diagnostic program has a simple three step process.

Parent Interview

Prior to the interview, parents will complete an intake form that outlines several questions about your child’s medical, developmental, social-emotional, and behavioral history. At the interview, parents will meet with Dr. McLean for one hour, during which a thorough understanding of your child’s developmental history will be obtained and questions will be answered about the evaluation process.

Assessment and Evaluation

Depending on your child’s age, the evaluation will occur over one day for the span of 90 minutes to three hours. Your child will work with Dr. McLean to complete cognitive and language-based measures. A parent may accompany a child throughout the assessment should separation difficulties emerge. Further, again depending on your child’s age, administration of the ADOS-2 may also require a parent to be in the room at the time of testing.

Recommendation Meeting

Parents will meet with Dr. McLean for a one-hour recommendation meeting following a minimum of one week after the assessment and evaluation. A comprehensive report will be given to families at this time that outlines your child’s developmental history, test results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations for future intervention services. These aspects will be discussed in detail during the recommendation meeting.

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Want to know if your child is meeting developmental milestones? Download our Typical Milestones Infographic.

Find up to date CDC Act Early Milestones here.

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New Beginnings with Dr. Deija McLean

Dr Deija McLeanDr. Deija McLean is a Licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with extensive training and expertise in serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Missouri, with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis. She then completed her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute where she provided outpatient behavioral services to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities who exhibited severe challenging behavior. Dr. McLean completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital where she conducted diagnostic evaluations for those with suspected neurodevelopmental disorders and provided behavior therapy services to support skill acquisition and reduction of challenging behaviors.

Dr. McLean’s interests include diagnostic assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, caregiver training of behavior reduction programs, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Educational History:

Doctor of Philosophy, School Psychology
University of Missouri (APA Accredited), 2020

Graduate Certificate, Applied Behavior Analysis
University of Missouri, 2018

Bachelor of Science in Education, Early and Middle Childhood Studies
The Ohio State University, 2015