Dr. Kessler provides diagnostic evaluations for individuals of any age concerned about a possible autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents are initially interviewed regarding their child’s early developmental history, the history of the problem, and current concerns. The child is then administered a developmental or IQ test, depending on their age, and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). In some cases, a school observation is also recommended. Dr. Kessler then meets with parents to discuss the results of the evaluation and make recommendations for how to proceed.
We provide social skills training.
One of the hallmarks of Autism Spectrum Disorders is difficulty with language and communication, negatively affecting the child’s social functioning. Our intervention primarily targets social speech in naturalistic settings: entertaining games, activities, and play. For toddlers and preschoolers, play is the most important teaching tool when targeting social speech. Improving the right play skills increases social attention, also known as joint attention, the building block for social reciprocity. For school age children, goals may include explicitly teaching social rules, e.g. conversation starters and killers, reading non-verbal communication, e.g. what does it mean when someone frowns and crosses their arms, teaching what others may be thinking, providing skills to deal with classmates etc., and ideally practicing these social skills in small groups. We also work with siblings and transferring goals from therapy into your home.