Home | Resource Center | Contact Us     
What We Do

We offer full multi-disciplinary approach psychological evaluations with a specialty focused on autism diagnostics. We obtain data in cognition, adaptive, developmental, and social-emotional functioning, as well as sensory assessment and autism data (if applicable). We partner with area speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and pediatricians for further assessment. The obtained results are integrated into a comprehensive written report.

  • Therapy for children and adults

  • Specific treatment for individuals with autism based on need and ages.

  • Social Skills training for autism, Asperger’s Disorder, children with ADHD

  • Offer pediatric computer assessment with the PADDS for pre and post medication data related to ADHD. The PADDS is the newest instrument and is similar to a video game, and children tend to enjoy the administration.

  • Psychological and psycho-educational assessments for learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, processing disorders, etc.

  • Psychological evaluations for diagnostic clarification. Most of these referrals come from psychiatrists, counselors, or other mental health providers.

  • Offer training and development for organizations, as well as other industrial-organizational services

 

For Autism, We Offer...

AUTISM TREATMENT: For children with autism, we utilize Social Skills Training, Social Referencing, Floor Time Activities, and Behavioral Treatment.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS: We offer Social Skills Groups for acquisition of social skills and socialization & leisure opportunities; Vocational Assessment, Social Skills and Life skills training. Counseling for vocational, personal issues & coping skills development; Higher education and continuing education supports.

FOR PARENTS: Education about diagnosis, treatment, education, and advocacy. We offer behavioral strategies and/or formal plans to assist with behavioral issues.

FOR PROFESSIONALS & PHYSICIANS: We offer autism consultation, staff training, and Early Screening Presentations and Packets.

FOR SCHOOLS/TEACHERS: We offer full psychological evaluations for districts without Autism Specialists or for Independent Evaluations. We offer functional analyses, behavioral plan implementation, and training for “front line” workers and paraprofessionals. We offer Support and Advocacy for IEP process.

 

More About Who We Are

Why and/or when is a psychological evaluation necessary? A psychological evaluation can be used for diagnostic clarification, treatment recommendations, identification of strengths and weaknesses, identify and differentiate learning styles, detect social-emotional disturbances and co-morbid disorders, etc. For Autism, a medical diagnosis is necessary in many cases for service delivery. A medical diagnosis is different than an educational exceptionality of Autism. No referral needed.

At our clinic, we proudly uphold the Best Practices in Screening, Assessment, and Diagnosis, which have been designed and formalized by experts in the field. 

BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR AUTISM SCREENING, DIAGNOSIS AND ASSESSMENT:

  • The DSM-IV is the current classification standard for establishing a diagnosis of ASD

  • Early identification is essential for early therapeutic intervention. We screen and/or evaluate toddlers as young as 18 months.

  • Autism must be diagnosed using informed clinical judgment, which is a required element of the assessment process and leads to accurate identification of and intervention planning for ASD.

  • We assess all ages because the screening, diagnosis and assessment of ASD presents different challenges through the individual's life span. It is not a static process.

  • Practitioners must be aware of and understand confidentiality issues and honor the need for shared information.

  • Accurate diagnostic evaluation and assessment requires collaboration and problem solving among professionals, service agencies and families.

  • An interdisciplinary process is recommended.

  • Timely referral and coordination of evaluation and ongoing assessment enhances outcome.

  • Rapid developments in the field require regular review of current best practice procedures and up-to-date training.

 

Now What?

Your child has recently obtained a diagnosis of Autism. You, as parents, are entrusted to make very important decisions and advocacy measures for your child. Please visit the Autism Playbook for suggestions on what to do, who to see, and treatment options once a diagnosis is received.

 

Autism Treatment

Please visit the specific sections related to children, young adults, and professionals for in-depth treatment options and information.  Again, we are proud to uphold and support the Best Practices in Treatment for persons with autism at our clinic. These Best Practices include the following:

BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR AUTISM TREATMENT

  • Seeing Behavior As Communication

  • Intensive discrete trial training in structured 1:1 setting

  • Presuming Competence

  • Use of Visual/Picture/Word Schedules

  • Sensory Processing Evaluation by a Qualified Occupational Therapist

  • Communication System Available to each person 100% of the School Day

  • Educational and Vocational Instruction in Typical Environments

  • Tasks Broken up into Small Intervals

  • Paraprofessional Support for Students where Appropriate

  • Research over the last two decades consistently shows 25-40 hrs a week in year-round programs is the service level needed to produce positive levels of growth 


To this end, we offer parents of children with autism the information, encouragement, and recommendations to advocate for the above-listed Best Practices for their child.

We teach that Behavior = Communication! That is, if supports are not in place to assist an individual in communicating, then he or she quite often has behavioral endpoints of frustration. Every child has the right to communicate.

 

Staff

Dr. Marsiglia obtained her Ph.D. at Louisiana Tech University in Counseling Psychology; she also holds a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Dr. Marsiglia's special interests include autism spectrum disorders, to include diagnosis and treatment, social skills groups for Asperger's Disorder, and general advocacy/ parental support. Other interests include Environmental and Design Psychology, learning disabilities, and childhood developmental disorders. As a private practitioner, she offers therapeutic services to include assessment, diagnosis, and therapy to a variety of populations with particular interests in individuals with developmental disabilities. She also serves as a medical consultant to Disability Determinations Services, as well as consultant to various agencies. Services include supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in the community with behavioral treatment plans, staff training, and ongoing supervision. Additional specialties include a full range of counseling services in goal-focused psychotherapy, psycho-educational group activities, social skills training, pain management, and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety. She intermittently teaches as an adjunct instructor for Louisiana Tech University. Formal pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral training were with developmental disability populations, to include autism, Rhett’s Syndrome, congenital disorders, and all ranges of mental retardation from profoundly impaired to supporting individuals with mild impairments. Dr. Marsiglia enjoys the supervision duties with both doctoral level and master level students.  

Be assured that the clinicians at our clinic are well-trained and educated in psychometrics, psychological testing, and establishing rapport.  We try to offer testing during the weekdays, as well as on Saturdays, for your convenience.

Our office manager can give you information regarding appointment availability, fees, payments, and any specific questions you may have.  

 

Fees and Insurance

FEES: It is important to us that you understand any charges ahead of time. We believe that fees should be addressed up-front per ethical guidelines. Among other valid reasons, conversations related to money have been known to interfere with the therapeutic process. To this end, the office manager will be happy to discuss fees when you phone and will at times initiate the payment topic in order to make it easier for our patients. Fees for testing will be identified prior to assessment. The fee structure compares favorably to the usual and customary charges for professional services from doctors with the level of training and credentials.

Specific charges will depend upon the types and length of services provided. For example, a full psychological evaluation for autism is typically more expensive due to the number and type of tests needed. Per the Best Practices of Autism Assessment standards, we assess/estimate cognition, developmental, adaptive, social-emotional functioning, as well as obtain autism data through multiple measures, settings (if possible) and respondents. We believe in a multi-disciplinary approach and additional testing by other providers (e.g., speech-language, neurology/physician, occupational therapy, etc.) might be recommended. The results of assessment(s) are integrated and provided in a comprehensive report, which can then be utilized for service delivery initiation, treatment recommendations, IEP data, etc. In terms of actual price, we encourage our patients to conduct an ‘internet search’ for comparable evaluations as our fees are significantly lower than most providers.

It is expected that payment will be made at the time services are rendered. We now accept most major credit cards. We require a deposit at the time of psychological testing with payment in full expected by the time the results are presented in the formal report and interpretation session. Ask the office manager about the deposit and any other specific questions that may arise. We want you to feel comfortable discussing all options.

Insurance: At the present time we do not accept direct payments from insurance companies (except Tricare). We can provide the documentation needed so that you may file claims with your insurance company. Once fees are paid, then the patient is eligible for reimbursement dependent on the provisions of the individual insurance company.

ADD/ADHD: Louisiana law requires that any insurance company that provides medical insurance in this state must pay for evaluation for ADD/ADHD, even if no other mental health services are covered.  Unfortunately, that law preceded the formation of HMOs, which may be exempted.

AUTISM: Since autism is a medical diagnosis, many insurance plans will/must provide reimbursement for the diagnostic evaluation, which incorporates extended developmental testing. We provide our patients full documentation once fees are paid in full, to include a rationale for testing, a letter for insurance, billing summary with CPT codes, etc.

Military: Our office proudly accepts payments from military TriCare standard and TriCare Prime. Due to the scarcity of autism expertise, we remain committed to accept and prioritize developmental assessments for childhood disorders. We salute Tricare as being THE leader in the field of autism and believe they set the Gold Standard by which other insurance companies can benefit from their model. We regret that due to the great demand for developmental/childhood assessments, at times we are unable to accept new Tricare patients for therapy. Our office manager can tell you the current status of accepting patients for therapy.

HMOs: Unfortunately, the limits HMOs impose for mental health services at times mandate compromising services and patient care. As such, we have chosen to decline HMO provider membership. However, our patients oftentimes independently obtain authorization from their HMOs to cover the cost of our services especially due to the limited availability of psychological services in this area and due to the autism specialization. You may contact your company to inquire about their reimbursement procedures.

Medicaid: Louisiana law just recently initiated Medicaid reimbursement for psychological services; however the fee structure is such that participation in the Medicaid program is not feasible at this time.

OUR FORMS: Please go to the Download Section to review/complete the intake forms.

 

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Defining Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.

Individuals with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and play patterns. However, autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees - this is why early diagnosis is so crucial.

Autism is one of five disorders that falls under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), a category of neurological disorders characterized by "severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development.” The five disorders under PDD are:

  • Autistic Disorder

  • Asperger's Disorder

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

  • Rett's Disorder

  • PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)


Each of these disorders has specific diagnostic criteria which been outlined in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).

 

Prevalence of Autism

Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 150 births (Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 2007). Roughly translated, this means as many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism. And this number is on the rise.

Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, the ASA estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade. Autism knows no racial, ethnic, social boundaries, family income, lifestyle, or educational levels and can affect any family, and any child. And although the overall incidence of autism is consistent around the globe, it is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls.

The above information is from the Autism Society of America. For more information on Autism and related disorders, visit the Autism Society of America website at www.autism-society.org.

 

Diagnosis and Early Intervision

EARLY WARNING SIGNS: A child should be screened if signs are present:

  • Poor eye contact

  • Inability to point

  • Atypical behaviors and/or play patterns.


RED FLAGS:
The absolute indicators that warrant immediate evaluation:

  • No babbling or pointing or other gesture by 12 months

  • No single words by 16 months

  • No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months

  • Loss of language or social skills at any age.



No Referral Needed

DISCLAIMER: Autism is a complex disorder. The information presented here is designed for informational purposes only and is presented as a public service. The contents of this web site are not medical, legal, or technical advice and must not be construed as such. Dr. Marsiglia’s “opinions” are based on research but are nonetheless opinions only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for informed professional diagnosis, advice or therapy. The website information is not for diagnosis or treatment without personal consultation.



Home | About Us | Autism Playbook | For Children | For Young Adults | For Professionals
For Educators | Resource Center | Spotlight News | Downloads | Contact Us