Autism Spectrum

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts a person's experience with how they interact with the world.  Typical areas of impact include differences in social interactions, communication differences, behavioral differences, and sensory integration sensitivities. 

The way in which every child, teen, and adult expresses and experiences their neurodiversity varies greatly from person to person.  Our clinical team is experiences in assessing for neurodiversity and autism across a wide age-rage (age 2 -23 years) and we have a variety of measures that can help to better understand each person's unique differences and neurodiversity. 

There is an abundance of research showing early intervention is key with younger children for developing skills.  Having a formal diagnosis can help identify your child's areas of need and put the correct supports in place.  This may include initiating speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral supports, specialized school placements, and other community supports. 

For some children and teens, there is a high correlation with increased mental health symptoms (anxiety and depression)  and misunderstood neurodiversity.  Having a better understanding of how your child or teen interacts with the world can bring about a greater understanding of themselves, their strengths, and their difficulties.  A formal diagnosis can help children and teens get services and funding to support their development and wellbeing.

What's the best next step? 

YES! PDA stand for Pathological Demand Avoidance or Pervasive Drive for Autonomy.  

While PDA is not a formal diagnosis, we are expertly trained to understand and assess for PDA as it presents alongside autism.  

We understand PDA as an anxiety-driven need for autonomy. PDA causes someone to avoid demands and expectations for the sole purpose of reducing anxiety by remaining in control
With even minor demands, there can be extreme reactions, which we typically see as refusal of basic hygiene tasks, and school refusal. 

What is an autism
diagnosis important?

You may have heard of a measure called the ADOS-2, which is a measure that is most commonly used for assessing autism. 

While the ADOS-2 is one measure that we commonly use, we have found that it is  more focused on disabilities and deficits, and typically does not identify the differences that many autistic teens experience.  To accommodate for this, we also include the MIGDAS-2 measure that is an interview-style and is much better at understanding distinct way a person relates to the world.  

One of the most common thing we hear from teens who work with us is that this is the first time they have felt understood and seen.  


Have you heard of PDA? 

DO you use different 
measures for teens?

Every assessment is whole-person, meaning we are gathering information about your child's strengths and areas of concern.  

We will first meet for a one-hour parent meeting where you will help us to see the world through your child's eyes.  We want to learn more about your child's development, social differences, communication style, interests, and any additional concerns.  We'll talk about strengths, goals for the assessment, and what to expect for the assessment.

The assessment with your child will assess cognitive abilities (IQ), actual age-level functioning, executive functioning, social-emotional, communication style, and sensory integration. We will also get additional information about what you see at home and teacher feedback (if that applies). 

Schedule A Consultation

What does an Autism 
Evaluation Include?

The best next step is to schedule a 15-minute consultation so you can ask any specific questions about the assessment process and we can coordinate calendars to schedule the assessment.  

We are currently scheduling two-weeks from the initial phone consultation.

now we have direction

Dr. Griffiths and her team helped me better understand PDA and how this was affecting my son at school.  We know have all the right supports in place and I feel more confident as a parent. 

helped getting services

We were able to use the assessment from AZ Peds Center to get DDD services in our home and my daughter is making progress in the areas we were concerned about. 

helped at school meeting

I was so grateful to have Mr. Albaugh attend the first IEP meeting with me.  He was able to share the assessment with the team and help create goals.

I felt really welcome

My daughter has a lot of energy and Dr. Ford was so patient and kind to her.  It really helped me feel at ease knowing they could keep up with her active energy.

What makes us different

We Do Details

Every assessment includes an understanding of your child's strengths and areas of growth.  We collaborate with teachers, pediatricians, therapists, family members, and medication providers. 

We're Personal

Our office is designed to look  and feel like your living room.  Your child will feel at home and relaxed for the assessment.  We don't do stuffy or big fancy words that real people don't understand.  Our reports are easy to understand.  

We're Experienced

We went to school for a long time to earn those little letters after our names. We also worked in a variety of settings with different kids and families (so nothing really shocks us).  Our team also continues to attend trainings, obtain certifications, and keep up to date with recent research and mental heath concerns. 

Phone Consult

Let's talk more about working together

Multiple openings every week for us to schedule 15-minutes to talk through the process.  We'll talk about your concerns, goals, and how we develop a strength-based assessment for your child. 

Inquire now