The Autism Assessment Clinic
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. We are now in our second year of providing comprehensive autism spectrum evaluations to those Vermont children suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We are dedicated to offering interdisciplinary evaluations using a collection of standarized, norm-referenced assessment tools that aim to capture each child’s unique array of strengths and struggles for which we can potentially offer an ASD diagnosis and suggest tailored family-based recommendations for prevention, health promotion, and intervention. We assess multiple domains of functioning (including Theory of Mind, Cognitive, Adaptive Skills, Communcation, Social Skills) and consider information from multiple informants. Through a two-morning evaluation period (one-morning for children younger than four years), we perform standardized testing, a clinical interview, and an observational assessment; ultimately we integrate the clinical information to provide diagnostic impressions and treatment strategies.
Our clinic connects families with assessment teams comprised of psychologists, psychiatrists, and speech/language pathologists who work within an academic teaching environment. Our clinic’s team includes:
- Jim Hudziak, MD
- Jeremiah Dickerson, MD
- Hope Morris, MS, CCC-SLP
- Jim Tallmadge, PhD
Additionally, we have affiliated with the state of Vermont Child Development Clinic, who will provide their knowledge of state and local resources to link families with children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum illness with appropriate follow-up care and service connections.
As you know, autism spectrum disorders comprise a wide heterogenous array of developmentally informed characteristics and behaviors that often can be difficult to fully delineate, especially when they co-occur with (and are possibly informed by) features of anxiety, affective disorders, cognitive deficits, speech and language delays, executive dysfunction, attentional problems, and a history of trauma/neglect. We very much appreciate the complexity of assessing one for the presence of an autism spectrum disorder and the type of evaluation that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry for this is often beyond the scope of usual pediatric practice.
It is our hope that once children are screened (between the ages of 16-30 months of age) using ASD specific screening tools (i.e. M-CHAT) that a referral for comprehensive evaluation would immediately follow for those who present with concerns that suggest an autistic disorder. Under our funding directives, our clinic is not exclusive of age but ideally we aim to provide assessments to children under or at the age of four years.
If you are working with a child 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. We understand provider and parental concern surrounding these children and we hope to schedule the preschool child’s evaluation within a couple of weeks after the intake packet of paperwork is completed.
To initiate the referral process, or if you have any questions, please contact us at 802-847-4563. We look forward to working collaboratively for Vermont families.