I am a Canadian psychotherapist, with a special interest in autism both on a professional and personal level, as I am autistic myself. You can find more information about me and my credentials here:
And as it happens, I do both comprehensive in-person and online assessments for people who suspect they may be autistic. I also assess for ADHD, alexithymia, and Ehlers–Danlos syndromes in the autism assessment, since these conditions often co-occur with autism.
Assessments with consideration
Not every diagnostician is equally considerate of the experience of autistic people. But being autistic myself, I understand the challenges autistic people face when seeking a diagnosis. Here are a few things I consider:
- Not every autistic person feels comfortable with going to an office, so an online assessment may be better suited for them.
- The way that I break up the assessment I think diminishes the overwhelm you might usually experience enduring the assessment process.
- Many autistics communicate better in written form, so I include that in the first part of the assessment.
As research shows we (autistic people) tend to have an intolerance of uncertainty, which is linked to anxiety and depression,Relationships between autism spectrum disorder and intolerance of uncertaintyBrief Report: Inter-Relationship between Emotion Regulation, Intolerance of Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Depression in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder I think it’s important to let you know exactly what you can expect, so you don’t get (as) anxious when you step into the assessment process with me.
I offer autism assessments in two parts, starting with a screening assessment, which may be followed by a diagnosis.
Part 1: Screening assessment (CA$500)
- 12 questions to answer about your experience and history.
- 6 psychometrics: AQ, RAADS-R, CAT-Q, VIA, RBQ-2A, and the Aspie Quiz.
- A review of the submitted information.
- A report based on answers and psychometric scores.
- A recommendation on whether it makes sense to proceed with part 2.
Payment for the initial assessment must be made via credit card prior to the commencement of the assessment.
If you choose to pursue a diagnosis or wish to complete the ADOS-2 and additional psychometrics, you can proceed with part 2, which includes a live assessment, and a written report of the findings.
Part 2: Diagnosis (CA$1,050)
- An additional 7 psychometrics: ASRS-v1.1, EQ, SQ, OAQ, TEQ, ESQ, and the Big 5.
- A 60–90 minutes interview via teleconference, based on the ADOS-2 (module 4).
- A review of the submitted information by myself as well as a medical doctor.
- A report based on your answers, psychometric scores, and the interview.
Payment for the diagnosis must be completed prior to the interview.
Note: if you want your assessment covered by health insurance, do check with your provider whether you can get an autism diagnosis by a Canadian psychotherapist covered, and check with the organization you need the diagnosis for whether they will accept a diagnosis by a Canadian psychotherapist (with a signature from a medical doctor if needed).
Depending on where you live, you may need an M.D. to review the diagnostic report to make it a valid diagnosis. For an additional CA$300, Dr. Jag Arora will review your diagnostic report and add her signature.
Even though we tried to make the assessment process as simple and comfortable as possible, it can still be overwhelming. One stumbling block may be that you don’t know how to answer certain questions on a test, or you’ve done a test several times with diverse results, and you want to know which result is the most reliable. Or there may be other reasons you get stuck, or other things you have questions about. Book a pre-assessment session with Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht, and she will offer guidance and answer all your questions!
30 minutes: CA$125
1 hour: CA$225
Online questionnaires like the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) can provide a starting place to consider whether you might be autistic. You can find more information and a link to the test in the post below.
Alternatively, below you can find links to various other psychometric tests (and Martin and my test results), which can be used as screening tools. Do note that these tests are not intended to be used as diagnostic tools. However, they can indicate whether it’s likely that you are somewhere on the spectrum.
If you score below the threshold and you still think you may be autistic, do follow your intuition, and consider a formal assessment.
I recommend following your intuition on this for the following reasons:
- A certain percentage of autistic adults scored below the threshold of 26, despite having or qualifying for a diagnosis. So scoring below 26 does not necessarily rule out autism.
- Self-reported measures of autism are quite reliable (around 70–86% according to one studyAutism Spectrum Disorders and Self-reports: Testing Validity and Reliability Using the NEO-PI-R), and so self-assessments are taken seriously.
- We found that the wording of the questions on psychometric tests is often ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation by autistic people. Arguably they are written for autistic people, so if you get a low score on any of these tests, ironically it could mean that you interpreted the test in an autistic way, and thus a low score could hint at autism, rather than exclude it.
- Even if it turns out you are not autistic, the diagnostic process may be very helpful. Not only because autism can be ruled out, but you may have a condition related to autism, a condition with symptomatology that resembles or could be confused with autism (i.e. BPD), or a condition that often co-occurs with autism (i.e. ADHD and alexithymia).
Getting the right diagnosis—whether it’s autism or something else—is often crucial to understanding yourself and how you relate to the world, or to seek out more focused help if needed.
Another way people can gain information about whether they might be on the spectrum is via joining Facebook groups, where you can speak to other autistic people that can offer their experiences with autism, or with getting an autism diagnosis specifically. One Facebook group we recommend joining is our very own, the Embrace Autism Community. We focus on keeping the group safe and civil, and vet anyone who would like to join. Various people have indicated how much our group has helped them, so it might just offer the same to you.
NB: Research from 2018 by Deborah M. Ward et al. indicates that Facebook—unlike Twitter—can be highly conducive to the wellbeing of autistic people on account of the support groups.Social Media Use and Happiness in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Quite a few members of our group—including ourselves—have indicated they use Facebook exclusively to interact in our group.
When you are ready to pursue an autism assessment,
please contact me via the assessments page.