Counseling and Consulting  Services

AuSM's highly trained, certified therapists have committed their careers to helping individuals with autism understand their diagnosis and address both the challenges and gifts that it can bring. 

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AuSM Mental Health Services 
Barbara L. Photo 
Sara Pahl, MS, BCaBA, NCC

Beth Pitchford, MA
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Ask The Therapist

Dear Dr. Luskin,
We suspect that our 7-year-old son might be on the autism spectrum and we are looking to see if there are any tests we can do at home to see if this is the case. However, there are so many different options and we do not know which one to pick.

Thank you,
Lost in Labels
Dear Lost in Labels,
First, kudos for recognizing some signs of autism in your son. The sooner you can start treatment, the better.

Observe how your son behaves in everyday situations. When he plays with other children, how does he play? Is he observing other children play while he mimics them? Have you noticed anything different in the way he talks (e.g. repeating phrases and words and using a different tone)? Does your son have any special interests? How does he act in school? Does he have a hard time interacting with his peers? Does he notice other people's feelings?

If any of these questions raises concerns about your son being on the spectrum, it would be helpful to contact an expert who has knowledge about autism. A professional can help you and your son better understand a possible diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is diagnosed through a pattern of thoughts and behaviors. This includes social and communicative deficits in reciprocity, difficulty to develop peer relationships, and lack of nonverbal communication. An autism professional can help you sort through the many elements of the diagnosis to determine if it's the correct fit for your son.

If you still are interested in taking self-help tests, it is important to remember that these are not designed for professional diagnosis. They are used to help you determine if your child needs professional attention. One helpful home test is the Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST), which is a 39-item, yes or no evaluation. This test was created by the Autism Research Centre for assessing the severity of autism spectrum symptoms in children. It's fairly easy to take, and can help you determine if you should seek professional help.

I wish you the best of luck!

-Dr. Luskin
The AuSM Counseling and Consulting Team offers therapy and support:
  • Diagnostic, functional or behavioral assessments for children, adolescents, and adults
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Developmental therapy
  • Behavior consultation
  • Marriage and couples therapy
  • Training for organizations and service providers
To inquire about our services or to make an appointment please contact AuSM at 651.647.1083 or e-mail
Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is a self-funded organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement.