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Autism Assessment Tips for School Psychologists: A Coffee Chat with Dr. Bryna Siegel

School psychologists are in the important position of being navigators for parents of children with Autism when they need it the most. When parents have questions after an initial diagnosis, we can be there for them. When they have questions about their educational options as their child grows, school psychologists have a golden opportunity to help them understand and make important decisions about their child’s education.

As school psychologists, we know first hand that the assessment and intervention with students on the Autism Spectrum can be complex. Given that we have the responsibility of partnering with parents in the process, we need to be on the cutting edge of research-informed best practices.

Because the needs of students on the Autism Spectrum can be complex, it is essential that we are consulting with our school psychologist peers and experts in the field to make sure we are on the cutting edge of best practices and research-informed decision making for supporting students with Autism.

In the Thriving School Psychologist Collective online course and professional learning community for school psychologists, we work together to create resources on topics that are important to school psychologists. One theme that came up in this past school year among participants in the TSP Collective was a desire for more information about assessment best practices for students suspected of being on the Autism Spectrum.

So I called Autism expert, Dr. Bryna Siegel, director of the Autism Center of Northern California and author of The Politics of Autism (among many other books on educating kids with Autism) and asked her to participate in my YouTube show, Coffee Break School Psychology.

In this 22-minute coffee chat, Dr. Siegel answered our Thriving School Psychologist community’s burning questions about Autism assessment. If you’re short on time, hop to the following timestamps to learn about your top questions!

02:30: What do we do when parent and teacher ratings on scales of Autism behaviors are not consistent with one another?

07:44: What is “High Functioning Autism” and how can you tell the difference between HFA and other disorders that overlap in symptoms (e.g. OCD, Anxiety)

10:13: Is the ADOS the “gold standard” of assessing Autism?

12:17: Is inclusion the least restrictive environment for students with Autism?

18:31: What is the school psych’s superpower in supporting students on the Autism Spectrum?

Many thanks to Dr. Siegel for joining me in this latest episode of Coffee Break School Psychology!

Learn more about Dr. Siegel’s new book here.

Learn more about Dr. Rebecca Branstetter’s Thriving School Psychologist Collective online professional learning community and resources just for school psychologists at

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Comments on Autism Assessment Tips for School Psychologists: A Coffee Chat with Dr. Bryna Siegel

  1. Sherianne says:

    This is excellent. Thank you so much!

    1. Rebecca says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Sherianne! 🙂

  2. Laurie Berberian says:

    This coffee chat was great! Thanks for bringing it directly to my inbox.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Glad you liked it! 🙂

    2. Rebecca says:

      You’re very welcome, Laurie! 🙂


    This was awesome!! I will share with my school psych colleagues. Where can I get the mug you mentioned?

    1. Rebecca says:

      Glad you liked it, and thanks for sharing! The Mug is available on my website at: 🙂

  4. Shairn Villa says:

    Great conversation! Informed, insightful, and common sense. Thank you.

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