FAQs

The Koegel Autism Center Assessment Clinic offers comprehensive diagnostic, developmental, educational, and psychological assessment services for individuals of all ages, from early childhood through adulthood. Typically spanning two half-day testing sessions, these multi-faceted, integrated evaluations are tailored to the needs of each child, adolescent, or adult, and culminate in the construction of a detailed, yet easy-to-comprehend report that provides a summary of assessment results, diagnostic information, and a comprehensive list of recommendations. At the end of the evaluation, families meet with our team for a same-day feedback session in which assessment findings and recommendations are discussed.

What is the general assessment process?

1. Please contact us for updated scheduling/waitlist information.

2. Should you decide to pursue our services, download our registration form from our website (www.education.ucsb.edu/autism/assessment.html), complete it, and submit it to us.

3. After receiving your registration form, one of our staff will contact you to schedule your assessment appointments. These are typically conducted on two consecutive half-day sessions (e.g. Monday and Tuesday mornings). At this point, we will email/mail you an intake packet in order to obtain relevant background information on the child or adult to be evaluated.

4. After you complete the intake packet, we ask that you submit it to us along with copies of relevant supplementary materials, including the most recent IEP (Individualized Education Plans), IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plans), and/or past developmental, neurological, speech/language and psychological reports.

5. In order to hold your evaluation date, you must also send in a nonrefundable $300 deposit (check or money order only, made out to UC REGENTS). We must receive all documents one week prior to your scheduled appointment date or your appointment may be subject to cancellation. Our address is in the intake packet.

6. On your scheduled evaluation days, the child or adult being evaluated will participate in cognitive, social-communication, and supplementary assessments. Additionally, parents/caregivers are asked to participate in structured assessment interviews to obtain information about the person’s adaptive skills and social functioning.

7. At the end of the two-day assessment session, our team will meet with you for a feedback session to discuss our findings and recommendations. You will have ample opportunity to ask questions you might have and have information clarified.

8. You will receive a written report in the mail approximately 4-6 weeks after the conclusion of our evaluation that contains information and recommendations initially discussed during the feedback session. 

What is an assessment evaluation?

An assessment is a way for us to better understand a child or adult's unique strengths and areas of difficulty. Assessments take on many forms: interactive activities, paper-and-pencil tasks, visual puzzles, question-and-answer activities, background questionnaires, checklist surveys, and child/parent interviews, to name a few. We have assessments for very young children, as well as those appropriate for adolescents and older adults. By comparing someone's assessment results to that of their same-aged peer group, we can better understand where they thrive and where they may need some help. Combining assessment results and other information from multiple sources allows us to thoroughly understand who a person is and provide detailed recommendations for home, school, and community settings. This process also allows us to make accurate clinical diagnoses, which can be a means to start receiving helpful services and supports from schools and community agencies.

 

How much does an evaluation cost?

A comprehensive assessment and resulting psychological report can be an invaluable process, and it is an investment of both time and money. The fee for our service, which includes a review of the individual’s developmental history and relevant records, structured parent/caregiver interviews, all assessment administrations, the feedback session, and the written report with recommendations, is currently $2500. All payments should be made out to UC REGENTS.

After we receive your registration form and schedule the dates for your evaluation, a $300 deposit is mailed in to hold these dates, and the remaining $2200 is due at the start of the first assessment day. Please note that our fee is subject to change at any time, but will not change from the date your deposit is received.

Do you take insurance?

Currently, we do not accept direct payment from insurance companies. However, we will  provide you with the necessary documentation and receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Insurance companies vary in their policies about what services  they will cover, so we encourage you to check with your insurance provider first if this is something you wish to do.

What are the insurance CPT and ICD-9 codes associated with your assessment evaluation?

CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes are assigned to every service that a physician or mental health professional provides. Insurance companies need these specific codes to process payment and reimbursement claims. All relevant codes will be included on your encounter form (receipt for our services). Our evaluation falls under multiple insurance codes:

90801 Psychiatric Diagnostic Interview Examination – 1 hour
96101 Psychological Testing by Psychologist or Physician - 7 hours
96102 Psychological Testing Administered by Technician - 6 hours
 

In addition, insurance companies will often request the ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases - 9th edition) code corresponding to the patient's medical condition. Autism spectrum disorder falls under the following ICD-9 code:

299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Who should accompany the person being assessed?

In all cases (including adult evaluations), it is recommended  that a parent or other highly  familiar adult accompany the individual being assessed. For young child assessments, it is  highly preferred that two adults (e.g. two parents or a parent and a relative) attend both days, so  that one adult can stay with the child during testing.

Do you do school/home observations?

Depending on a family's distance from our center, we can sometimes arrange for school and/or home observations. In the case of school observations, parents must obtain written permission from the school before we can proceed. This is not included as part of our standard evaluation fee and is typically billed at a rate of $100-200/hour.

Who will be doing the testing/working with the individual being assessed?

All evaluations are overseen by our assessment clinic director, Ty Vernon, Ph.D., who is a licensed psychologist. Dr. Vernon supervises the clinical team and administers core assessment instruments. Our team is composed of doctoral student clinicians with a high degree of expertise and experience in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders. Finally, we utilize bachelor and undergraduate-level research and clinical assistants to help coordinate our evaluations.

What are Dr. Vernon's qualifications?

Dr. Vernon is a licensed psychologist (PSY24597) who rec ived rigorous training in state-of-the- art autism assessment methods as the primary focus of his clinical psychology fel owship (autism track) at the Yale Child Study Center (YCSC). This specialized training is supplemented by psychological and neuropsychological testing experience he accrued working at both the YCSC's Psychological Assessment Service and UCSB's Psychological Assessment Center. Dr. Vernon originally completed the requirements for his Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UCSB. During his graduate years, he collaborated closely with advisors Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel at the Koegel Autism Center, where he worked as a researcher, clinician, parent educator, inclusion program supervisor, and clinic supervisor. His current research interests include (a) establishing effective methods to facilitate parent training, (b) disseminating treatment methods to the general public, and (c) developing social interventions across the lifespan, with a particular interest in early social motivation in young children with autism.

What takes place during each day?

First Assessment Day: When your family arrives at our center, the child or adult being assessed will first be given time to adjust to his/her new surroundings and the clinicians working with him/her. Intake and consent forms are completed at this point. The person being assessed will then participate in a cognitive or developmental assessment (depending on age) and an interactive social communication assessment. While he/she is being assessed, parents/caregivers will  articipate in a structured interview to gather additional information about the person’s social-communicative and behavioral history.

Second Assessment Day: The child or adult being assessed will receive supplementary assessments needed to answer your specific questions (for example, language, executive functioning, or personality assessment measures). While the person is being assessed, parents/caregivers will participate in an interview about the person’s adaptive skills (that is, the skills he/she uses on a daily basis). Once these assessments are complete, our team will meet to review the assessment results. We will then hold a feedback session with you (and the person being assessed if appropriate) to discuss our findings, diagnostic information, and our recommendations.

What specific autism assessments do you use?

We use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), which is an interactive social communication assessment that has different modules based on the individual's age and language abilities. We also use the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised (ADI-R), which is a parent-interview that allows us to gather current and historic information about the individual's social-communication and behavior. These tools are widely considered the current gold standards in the field of autism assessment. We combine this information with a number of other assessments (cognitive tests, adaptive skill interviews, language assessments, etc) to ensure a high degree of accuracy in our diagnostic decision-making process.

My child is nonverbal/has a high level of support needs/has severe behavior problems. Can you still do an assessment with them?

Our team has experience with assessing and working with children and adults with very challenging behaviors. We use state-of-the-art, positive strategies to encourage individuals to participate in our assessments and can often be successful when previous efforts of other professionals have not worked.

My child is gifted/college-bound/has unique intellectual strengths. Do you have assessments appropriate to evaluate this?

We have a wide-range of assessments suitable for very gifted individuals, even if there is a lot of variability in their profile of strengths and vulnerabilities.

What is the youngest child/oldest individual you can assess?

We can assess individuals of all ages. For very young children, we conduct a developmental assessment and if necessary, we make a provisional diagnosis to assist with obtaining necessary early intervention services. For older adults, we focus on assessment of quality of life issues, independent living skills, and vocational (work) skills.

Does the report include school/home/community/work/treatment recommendations?

Our recommendations are very comprehensive and are tailored to each individual. Typically, school-aged and adolescents receive a variety of educational recommendations, while toddlers receive appropriate early intervention and family service recommendations. Adults typically receive recommendations pertaining to independent living and vocational (job) skill acquisition and support.

Do I need a referral from a pediatrician/doctor/school/other professional to get an assessment?

Families can initiate an assessment without a referral from a doctor or other professional. However, some insurance companies may require a referral as a prerequisite for reimbursement requests. We recommend looking into your insurance company’s specific polices before proceeding with an evaluation.

What are the different domains of functioning you can assess?

Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnoses
Adaptive Skills
Cognitive Functioning (Intelligence Testing)
Developmental Delays
Executive Functioning/Problem Solving
Gross/Fine Motor Skill Screening (Young Toddlers)
Language/Speech Delays
Memory/Attention
Personality Assessment
Pre-Academic Skills
Problem Behaviors
Socialization Skills