Autism Specialist

Debra N. Brosius, Psy.D

Psychologist & Mental Health Practice located in McLean, VA

Autism is a neurological developmental disorder that affects communication, learning, and social interactions. Autism symptoms vary but usually appear during early childhood. At her private practice, Debra N Brosius, Psy.D., LLC in McLean, Virginia, the licensed clinical psychologist performs comprehensive neuropsychological assessments to test for autism. She provides testing for those ages 5 and older. Call or schedule a consultation online today.

Autism Q & A

What is autism?

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder, is a neurological condition that affects communication and behavior. Symptoms of autism usually appear in the first two years of life, which is why it’s also a developmental disorder.

Researchers investigating what causes autism theorize that it may develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors for autism include:

  • Having a sibling with autism
  • Having a genetic condition such as Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome
  • Low birth weight

Parents who bear children at an older age also are more likely to have children with autism.

What are the symptoms of autism?

Autism is a spectrum disorder because it causes a wide range of symptoms. In general, people with autism have difficulty communicating and interacting with others, have limited interests, and exhibit repetitive behaviors. 

Social communication and interaction behavior symptoms

Social communication and interaction behavior symptoms in autism may include not making eye contact, struggling to carry on a conversation, or not looking at or listening to people. 

These symptoms also include facial expressions that don’t match the conversation or an unusual tone of voice.

Restrictive and repetitive behavior symptoms

Restrictive and repetitive behavior symptoms may include highly focused interests or repetitive phrases or movements. People with autism may also get very upset when there’s a change in routine. They may also have unusual sensory issues related to noise, temperature, or clothing.

Difficulty sleeping and irritability are also common in people with autism.

During a well-child exam, your health care provider conducts a developmental screening. If your child has signs and symptoms of autism, they may recommend your child undergo a comprehensive assessment to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

What are the tests for autism?

Dr. Brosius performs comprehensive assessments for those exhibiting symptoms of autism. Her testing is a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment that includes a variety of objective clinical measures as well as parent and teacher rating scales.

For autism, testing includes:

Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale 2 (ADOS-2)

ADOS-2 is a standardized observational test that assesses communication, socialization, toy play, and repetitive and restrictive behaviors. 

Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)

The SRS identifies and assesses the severity of social impairment. This test is specific for those with autism and helps rule out other conditions that might affect social behaviors, such as depression or social anxiety disorder. 

Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)

ASRS is a comprehensive test that identifies symptoms and behaviors across the autism spectrum. 

To schedule a comprehensive autism test, call the office of Debra N Brosius, Psy.D., LLC, or book an appointment online today.