Are there any genetic tests for autism?

Learn about: Are there any genetic tests for autism? from Allison Kawa, PsyD,...
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Are there any genetic tests for autism?

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Right now we don't have any genetic tests or blood tests that we can use to diagnose autism, with the exception of Rett's disorder. Rett's disorder is a pervasive developmental disorder that primarily affects girls. There is a blood test for identifying that particular diagnosis. However, once a child has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, best practices dictates that they would have a full genetic workup. The reason for that is that about 10% of children who have an autism spectrum disorder will also have some sort of a genetic mutation. We don't have any specific interventions that would be informed by that genetic workup. However, it would be relevant for other siblings or for family planning.

Learn about: Are there any genetic tests for autism? from Allison Kawa, PsyD,...

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Allison Kawa, PsyD

Child Psychologist

Alison Kawa is a licensed child psychologist specializing in the evaluation of children and adolescents.  Her pre- and post-doctoral training emphasized child and adolescent testing.  She was a fellow in the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic where she acquired extensive training in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and a range of other developmental disorders.  During this time, she also obtained certification from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) on the gold standard instruments (i.e., ADI-R and ADOS) used in autism evaluations.  Following her fellowship, she became Senior Assessor at UCLA where she worked for four years.

Alison completed the PsychoEducational Diagnostic Services Program (PEDS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Assessment at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar.  In this setting, she conducted comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for children and adolescents with a diverse range of issues including ADHD, Learning Disabilities, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.  She also completed the Child Therapy in a School Setting program offered by Phillips Graduate Institute, where she gained training and experience in play therapy, social skills groups, and therapeutic interventions appropriate for adolescents. 

While completing her graduate training in psychology, she held a staff position at Working With Autism, Inc., where she worked individually with children with autism, provided case management and supervision, and developed and implemented a staff-training curriculum.  It was through this position that she acquired a love for teaching and training. In addition to her private practice, she teaches pre- and post-doctoral fellows at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar, where she also works as a supervisor and consultant.

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