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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Is it normally accepted to use at Battelle Developmental Inventory

Resolved Question:

Is it normally accepted to use at Battelle Developmental Inventory 2nd Edition on a 3 year 4 month old child to determine if the child is Autistic?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

It assesses developmental milestones for children this age. I would think other tools (tests, interviews, observation) would be valuable adjuncts. Psychologist rarely use only one test or method to test for anything, but I can see how this would be a very useful tool in assessing Autism.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

It is tough to make a definitive diagnosis at this age, but it could point out areas of concern. I wouldn't put any permanent "Label" on a kid this age, but not areas of strength and weakness to be vigilent of.

Customer:

This 3 year old was tested with the BDI-2 to rule out autism because his non-identical twin IS autistic. The BDI-2 ranges are non-autistic (0-29), Mild to Moderately Autistic (30-36), or severely autistic (37-60). This child was tested at 30 on a day that he was coming down with an ear infection. The child was retested with a score of 26.5 when he was well. Now the child is 4 1/2 and in Pre-K and has been diagnosed as hypoglycemic. When he won't eat or hasn't eaten in several hours he acts grumpy and won't mind but he is NOT being disruptive to the class. Once he eats he is back to his normal self within 20-30 min. max. The school is trying to use the test scores from a year and a half ago to force me to label him autistic.

Customer:

What should I do?

Customer:

hello?

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Get a competent opinion from a psychologist outside school district. Using just a test score is an incompetent evaluation. One needs to take more than that into consideration. It is Odd they are trying to label him. They usually avoid it (it costs them $$$). Still a score of 30 is so borderline, using that score is irresponsible. The hypoglycemia could have interfered with testing. I filled in as a school psychologist for a year as a favor. I was not impressed and the politics were obscene. If you get a licensed Ph.D. psychologist that does a lot of this, it will over-rule school psych in court. You could force school to retest, which would make sense, but if they obviously are clueless how to evaluate. As an aside, the testing is more reliable once he turns 5 as there is more research to back it. They should have also had you and others that know child fill out rating scales, have him checked by pediatrician, and have significant classroom obsevation time. The National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (sorry I don't have link, just google) has a good referral service of psychologists that have additional post doc experience and is organized by ZIP.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Whether Autistic or not, you should have a competent opinion.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I kinda come and go, but don't be concerned, I will get back to you

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your help. By the way, the reason the school wants him labeled autistic is that this school district has never had special needs services so they are getting extra money for providing the services. The school would be given extra funding to hire an extra "Paraprofessional" to be his personal assistant in the classroom. But since this child does not need a personal assistant to be with him all of the time..then the school can utilize that "Para"

Customer:

else where within the building...such as playground duty & lunchroom duty.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Politics and money.......where I always look for answers when things don't make sense.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Does child shown range of emotions and recognize emotions (correctly) in others?

Customer:

Yes sir....you're right on the button. Thanks again.

Customer:

Yes he does. He is a very socialable child.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Then likely not autistic, at least in my 1 sentence evaluation.

Customer:

He demands eye contact. He is usually the neighborhood recruiter for getting all the neighborhood kids to play games like tag, soccer, t-ball.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Pretty much opposite of Autistic. I wish you and your child well.

Customer:

Thank you.

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