Assessing Young Children for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Assessing Young Children for Autism Spectrum Disorder

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March 19, 2018

Did you know that children can be assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as early as 14 months old?

Mom, Child and Autism Assessment Therapist in clinical settingHealthcare professionals who work with young children play an important role in early recognition of ASD because they are the first point of contact. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests developmental screening and ASD screening for the purpose of early identification, while a “wait and see for improvement” model is strongly discouraged.


Christina Russell, PhD

Meet Dr. Christina Russell.

Dr. Russell’s primary role at Pine Rest is providing autism and ADHD diagnostic evaluations for children one through 13 years old at the Psychological Consultation Center. She recently moved from Denver where she worked as a child psychologist for early intervention programming and provided diagnostic evaluations for children with ASD.

Dr. Russell hopes to grow awareness of the importance of identifying young children with autism and developmental disabilities. When parents and clinicians have concerns or observe red flags for ASD, it is important to act early and refer for a diagnostic evaluation. Early identification can connect families to early intervention, provide them with accurate information about their child’s development, and improve outcomes for children. Best practice recommends referring for a diagnostic evaluation if a child fails an autism screening (e.g., MCHAT) as opposed to using a “wait and see” approach.

Dr. Russell currently has availability for non-AAEC (approved autism evaluation centers) autism diagnostic evaluations in April. Her availability for the AAEC and ADHD evaluations (ages 3-13) evaluations begins in June. Please feel free to share this with area pediatricians, clinicians and organizations you feel may benefit from having another referral source for their diagnostic needs.


Referrals for a diagnostic evaluation at Pine Rest can be made through: provides up to date information about autism screening and available screening tools.

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