by Jeremiah Dickerson, MD
Director, VCCYF Autism Assessment Clinic
As you may know, the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, & Families, in partnership with the State of Vermont, has established an Autism Assessment Clinic to serve the needs of Medicaid supported children and families throughout Vermont. Over the past two years, we have worked hard to solidify our assessment protocols and are eager to continue to provide comprehensive autism spectrum evaluations to those children suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder.
We hope to continue this work and remain dedicated to offering multidisciplinary evaluations using a collection of standardized, norm-referenced assessment tools that aim to capture each child’s unique array of strengths and struggles for which we can suggest tailored family-based recommendations for prevention, health-promotion, and intervention. Recently, autism spectrum disorders have become a relatively hot topic in both the popular and scientific press. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of children with autistic disorders is rising, and it is becoming increasingly crucial that primary care providers are diligent in their screening for such youngsters so that these children can obtain appropriate services that aim to ensure their developmental, social, behavioral, and academic success.
It is our hope that once children are screened (between the ages of 16-30 months of age) using ASD specific screening tools (e.g. M-CHAT*) that a referral for comprehensive evaluation would immediately follow for those who present with concerns that suggest an autistic disorder. A major objective for our clinic is to assess children age four and under. For these young children, the evaluation can take place over the course of one morning and may include developmental testing, autism-specific testing (using the Autism Diagnostic Interview and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), a psychiatric assessment, and speech-language testing (if indicated).
Although we are accepting referrals for children of any age, if you have a child patient four years and younger that is supported by Medicaid and that you suspect to be affected by an autism spectrum disorder please consider a referral to our clinic, which is housed in the UHC campus at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
To initiate the referral process, or if you have any questions, please contact us at 802-847-4563 or visit http://blog.uvm.edu/jdickers. We appreciate your time and look forward to working collaboratively for Vermont families.