Neuroaffirming Autism Evaluations


We’re your autism evaluators!

Being 3 late diagnosed Autistic adults, we are thrilled to be a part of your journey into providing you accessibility to the resources you deserve.

At Zen Psychological Center, we do not endorse the current medical model’s diagnostic criteria, though its use is often necessary to access accommodations. The prevalent assessment tools derived from the medical model may harm individuals by labeling their neurotype as deficient. Without the systemic ableism that forces autistic individuals to suppress their natural behaviors and sensory perceptions, the term “disabled” would likely not apply as it does now. Unfortunately, societal pressures to conform exacerbate daily challenges for autistic individuals, making accommodations essential for achieving a semblance of equity. Diagnoses under the medical model are a prerequisite for these accommodations.

Zen Psychological Center prioritizes the lived experiences of autistic individuals in our assessment process, guided not only by clinical training but also by insights from those who are autistic and neurodivergent. We believe that assessments should not be pathologizing or alienating. Our approach avoids traditional behaviorist and deficit-focused tools, instead choosing methods that honor and explore the internal experiences of neurodivergent individuals across all demographics.

Consequently, we employ alternative tools for evaluating Autism and ADHD, diverging from the mainstream yet still evidence-based methods to ensure a more inclusive understanding. This approach aims to affirm neurodiversity and eschew stigmatization, fostering a more accurate and respectful evaluation of Autism and ADHD.

Why Test?

Validation of Experience
Many neurodivergent individuals go through life feeling out of sync with the world around them. Confirming that their brain operates differently can validate their life experiences. It explains past difficulties and differences in thinking, feeling, and interacting with the world compared to neurotypical individuals.
Access to Adequate Support and Resources
A formal diagnosis opens up access to targeted support services and resources. These can include therapeutic interventions, educational accommodations, and tailored support that acknowledges and addresses the unique challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals.
Building Community
Knowing one's neurotype status can also connect individuals with communities and networks of people who share similar experiences and challenges. Community support is invaluable for fostering understanding, acceptance, and advocacy on issues that affect neurodivergent people.
Future Accommodations
In educational and professional settings, a diagnosis provides a basis for necessary accommodations. These adjustments help in leveling the playing field by mitigating the disadvantages that neurodivergent individuals might face in standard setups. Accommodations can range from extended test times to specialized software and workplace modifications that support unique sensory and cognitive needs.
Empowerment Through Knowledge
Ultimately, understanding one’s neurodivergence equips individuals and their families with the knowledge to advocate for their needs effectively. It empowers them to seek out and implement strategies that enhance their quality of life and enable them to contribute meaningfully to society.

Why is it important to have a neuroaffirming assessor?

A neuroaffirming assessor is vital because they recognize and validate the neurological variations inherent in individuals rather than pathologizing them. At Zen Psychological Center, our assessments are grounded in the social model of disability, which emphasizes adapting the environment to fit the person, rather than forcing the person to fit the environment. This approach not only respects but also uplifts the inherent value and capabilities of neurodivergent individuals, fostering an environment where they can thrive.

Why we’re different than other assessors…

It is crucial for neuroaffirming providers to conduct autism assessments, primarily because traditional psychological approaches often follow a medical model that frames autism as a deficit. This model, predominantly used by professionals without lived experience of neurodivergence, tends to pathologize autistic traits, suggesting that something is inherently wrong or lacking in individuals who are simply different, not deficient.

Viewing autism through a deficit lens is not only outdated but also harmful. It can reinforce feelings of inadequacy and foster environments where autistic individuals feel they must conform to neurotypical standards instead of embracing their unique strengths and differences. Such perspectives can significantly impact self-esteem and hinder the social acceptance and integration of neurodivergent individuals.

At our center, we reject the deficit model of autism and adopt a neurodiversity-affirming framework. Our assessments are designed not to “fix” but to understand and support. We focus on identifying each individual’s neurodivergent traits and how various environments might be impacting their ability to thrive. This approach shifts the focus from what is “wrong” to how we can adapt the environment to better suit the individual, fostering a more inclusive and supportive space that recognizes the value and potential of all neurotypes.

Full Autism Evaluation with Written Report


Full Autism Evaluation Without Written Report


Do We Accept Insurance?

Autism assessments at our practice are exclusively self-pay, as this approach underpins our commitment to equitable pricing. By opting out of insurance, we extend our services more accessibly to those with limited financial means, ensuring that our pricing reflects a balance of accessibility and provider sustainability. We are devoted to nurturing a culture of equity, interdependence, and shared community wealth, which is reflected in our fees, set below the general market rate.

Moreover, private pay arrangements empower our clients with enhanced control over their personal information. They can determine the particulars of their data sharing — a measure of autonomy that is especially crucial for individuals who have been underserved or harmed by systemic practices, and for those at risk of systemic discrimination. This level of control is pivotal to ensuring the safety and well-being of our clients.

A diagnostic evaluation requires significant investment in terms of time, energy, and money. Aware of the financial hurdles often associated with these assessments, we actively work to minimize operational costs to keep our prices as accessible as possible. In the interest of transparency and accountability, we offer a clear breakdown of the costs involved in our diagnostic assessments.

  • 2-3 hours of diagnostic interview session(s) with you and collateral interviews evaluation)
  • 2 hours of evaluator time in analyzing & organizing information gathered
  • 3-4 hours of evaluator time writing diagnostic report & recommendations
  • 45 minute session with you to review evaluation outcomes and recommendations

Total time evaluators spend completing each evaluation is approximately 8-10 hours


Formal Autism Evaluation: 2,200

Formal Autism Evaluation with Written Report: 2,900

Additional time spent: 250 an hour