COVID-19 Testing Protocols
During COVID-19, we are utilizing secure and privacy (HIPAA) compliant telehealth to provide Autism evaluations to reduce the risks associated with in-person assessments. New testing procedures were developed in accordance with guidance from experts in the field of Autism and were implemented since March 2020 to ensure an accurate diagnosis is obtained through telehealth. Telehealth evaluations include electronically administered questionnaires for parents and teachers (as applicable), including social-emotional, developmental, and adaptive measures, and a thorough developmental interview based on the ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised) with parents through telehealth. In addition, clinicians conduct observations of structured and guided play between individuals and their parents (as applicable by age) using telehealth measures such as the TELE-ASD-PEDS (Telemedicine-based Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment), BOSA (Brief Observations of Symptoms of Autism), or based on other measures such as the ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition), depending on age and clinical presentation. Depending on the age of the child, clinicians also conduct cognitive screenings via telehealth as needed. Following evaluations, clinicians meet with the family to discuss diagnoses, recommendations, and resources, and a full written report is sent to the family within four weeks.
Once it is deemed safe to return to in-person assessments, telehealth will still be offered to families. However, if there are requests for in-person assessments at that time, clinicians will review to determine clinical utility. Best Steps is adhering to county and state guidelines for safety, including the utilization of personal protective equipment, sanitization, plexiglass shields, and distancing.