Acting early makes a difference

Get Answers With Comprehensive Testing

Do you have concerns or questions about how your young child is talking, learning, growing, or developing?

Wondering if your child might benefit from testing for autism or other developmental conditions?

Our child psychologist, Dr. Sarah Banks, PhD, brings multiple years of experience in assessing, testing, and evaluating young children. In addition, she prioritizes understanding where families are in their care journey and meeting them in that place with compassion.

We are currently scheduling diagnostic tests for new clients at Soar Autism Center. We accept most major insurances including Medicaid and typically have short wait times for young children. If you are interested in an assessment, call us at 720-706-3396 or click on “Schedule a Call” on the Get Started page.

To learn more about Dr. Banks and the rest of our clinical team, including our speech therapist, occupational therapist, and board certified behavior analyst, read Our Team.

Meet Dr. Banks

Watch the video below of Dr. Sarah Banks and learn about her approach to autism testing, what a typical assessment is like at Soar, and her background as a child psychologist.

Take an Autism Test for My Child

Are you wondering whether your child could have autism and want to take a screening test? Click here to take the M-CHAT-R, a screening tool intended for toddlers 16-30 months of age.

The M-CHAT stands for the Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers. It consists of a series of 20 yes/no questions that a parent or caregiver answers about their child.

The M-CHAT-R is used on the Soar website with permission and copyrighted 2009 from Diana Robins, Deborah Fein, & Marianne Barton.

FAQs

Testing for autism

  • How is autism tested for and diagnosed?

    It typically involves a test or assessment from a child psychologist or clinician who specializes in autism. If you are concerned that your child may have autism or have been told by a healthcare professional to seek out an autism assessment, call us at Soar Autism Center at 720-706-3396 or ask your pediatrician for a recommendation.

  • How do I get my child evaluated or tested for autism?

    Typically a child psychologist or other clinician who specializes in autism testing and assessments can perform an evaluation. We offer this service at Soar Autism Center with our psychologist Dr. Sarah Banks. We also have a list of other diagnostic providers in the greater Denver area for parents in our new parent kit.

  • What happens at an autism assessment?

    Usually a standardized assessment or test is used in combination with a clinician’s independent judgment. During the assessment, the clinician will play with the child and watch for certain characteristics seen in children with autism. Assessments should be fun, and a child shouldn’t know they are being tested. The specific assessment used will vary depending on who evaluates your child, but examples of common assessments used in the US include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2nd edition (ADOS-2), Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), Childhood Autism Rating Scale-2nd edition (CARS-2), and Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS).

  • How much does an autism test cost?

    Autism tests are typically covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicaid. The specific cost will vary based on the details of your health insurance plan (e.g. co-pays, deductibles). If you are wondering about the cost of an assessment with us, call us at 720-706-3396 and we can check your insurance benefits for you.

  • I'm not sure if my child needs an evaluation or not, what should I do?

    Call us at 720-706-3396 and talk to one of our intake specialists who can help assess if an evaluation with Dr. Banks is a good fit for your child. You can also talk to your pediatrician or other healthcare provider for their recommendations.

  • Is there an autism symptoms checklist or signs of autism checklist I can use with my child?

    Check out the signs of autism infographic that is on our Screening page. It shows different signs and symptoms of autism by age, as well as symptoms that can show at many different ages. We also have videos of normal development from the CDC.

  • What is the M-CHAT or M-CHAT-R/F?

    The M-CHAT is also known as the Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers. It is a screening test used to identify children who may be at risk for autism, and is focused on toddlers (typically 16 to 30 months of age). It consists of a series of questions that the parent answers about their child and is often done at a well-child visit with a pediatrician. It does not officially diagnose a child with autism but indicates possible risk of autism and that a diagnostic assessment may be beneficial for the child. You can take it online on our website here.

  • My child had a high M-CHAT score, what do I do next?

    You should consult a healthcare provider, including your pediatrician and/or a specialized provider who can evaluate for an autism assessment. We offer this service at Soar Autism Center, and we also have a list of other Colorado providers who perform diagnostic testing in our new parent kit. 

  • How do you diagnose for autism during the Covid-19 pandemic?

    See our Covid-19 FAQs for more details on our processes for maintaining safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Overview of autism

  • What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that leads to characteristic differences in socialization and communication as well as characteristic behaviors (as defined by DSM-5). It is a spectrum disorder meaning that there is a highly varied set of symptoms among people with autism and varying degrees of severity.

  • What’s the difference between ASD and Autism?

    They refer to the same thing. The formal term used by healthcare professionals is Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, which many people will use shorthand as autism.

  • What Is Asperger's syndrome?

    Asperger’s syndrome used to be a separate diagnosis from autism, but has been brought under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in recent definitions of ASD in the DSM-5. Asperger’s tends to refer to people on the less severe side of the autism spectrum, and though the term is no longer used in healthcare settings, some people may still use it from time to time to describe more mild forms of autism.

  • What causes autism?

    The underlying biology in the brains of people with autism is not fully understood by researchers and scientists, and a single underlying process in the brain has not been found. The general consensus among scientists is that genetic factors cause changes in brain structure and connectivity, which in turn affects socialization and communication skills and causes the characteristic behaviors in people with autism. A significant amount of research time and funding is ongoing to better understand the biology of autism. We have additional details on the biology of autism and links to research in our new parent kit. 

  • How do you get autism?

    There is no one single cause of autism that scientists have identified. Scientists believe there is likely a strong genetic contribution to the development of autism. The role of environmental factors in the development of autism is less clear, and scientists are studying the topic further. Vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism based on large-scale population data. We have additional details on the biology of autism and links to research in our new parent kit.

  • What are the main signs of autism?

    We’ve highlighted some of the signs of autism on the infographic near the bottom of this page. It’s important to note that the initial signs of autism in children can vary significantly for each child.  Different children will often show different signs—some children may show many signs and other children may show few signs. The time course can also vary by child, with some children showing signs at a very young age (first few months of life), others showing signs after 1-2 years of life, and still other children appearing to have a normal development for their first couple of years and then appearing to regress and lose abilities they used to have (such as losing communication skills). And it is also possible to have some of the symptoms of autism but not have autism spectrum disorder. Because of this complexity, a specialized health care provider is needed to establish a diagnosis of autism.

  • How do autistic toddlers behave?

    See our infographic near the bottom of this page for additional detail on the signs of autism.

  • What are the different severity levels of autism?

     The severity level is intended to capture the level of support and services required by a person with autism. The severity level can also change over time. The three levels are:

    • Level 1: Requiring support
    • Level 2: Requiring substantial support
    • Level 3: Requiring very substantial support
  • At what age does autism typically show up?

    The time course varies by child. Some children show signs at a very young age (first few months of life), others show signs after 1-2 years of life, and still other children appearing to have a normal development for their first couple of years and then appearing to regress and lose abilities they used to have (such as losing communication skills).

  • Does autism ever go away?

    For the majority of people, autism is a lifelong condition. Said otherwise, children with autism become adults with autism. There are some reports of children who have received early intensive services and later no longer meet the diagnostic criteria of autism spectrum disorder. Such children may still need additional support (e.g. educational supports) relative to their neurotypical peers.

  • Is autism more common in boys or girls?

    It is more common in boys. For instance, in Colorado, boys were 4.5 times as likely to be identified with autism than girls based on data from the CDC.

  • Can autism go unnoticed?

    Yes, it is possible to miss a diagnosis of autism – for instance, if a child has a milder presentation or does not receive appropriate access to care in his or her early years. If you’re concerned at a diagnosis of autism in your child, you should talk to a healthcare professional about having your child evaluated. We also offer this service at Soar Autism Center, as do several other providers in Colorado.

  • What are other possible causes for your child’s behavior if not autism?

    There are other possible conditions that can share some of the features of autism (e.g. changes in social communication or characteristic behaviors). These conditions can either cause autism-like symptoms and be confused for autism, or can co-occur alongside with autism. A specialized healthcare provider can help differentiate between autism and other conditions in a comprehensive evaluation.

  • What resources do you recommend for parents looking to learn more about autism?

    We’ve put together a resource guide for parents which is available for download on our website. It provides a starting place for many parents at the beginning of their journey and has lists of local resources in Colorado as well as tips from other parents.

  • How is autism treated?

    See our FAQs on the Our Approach for a detailed overview of autism therapy. 

  • See all Our Approach FAQs HERE

    See all Family Resources FAQs HERE

    See all Identification FAQs HERE

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