How Much Will Autism Testing Cost You? Full Financial Rundown

Autism Testing Cost

On average, parents can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 or more depending on the age of the child and the type of testing. Insurance coverage varies widely, but some plans will cover part of the costs associated with ASD testing.

Getting a proper diagnosis is important to ensure the child gets access to the appropriate interventions, accommodations, and support services. Early diagnosis leads to earlier intervention, which can improve outcomes dramatically. Diagnosis is also needed to determine eligibility for special education services in school and other assistance like speech or occupational therapy.

The diagnostic process involves an assessment by a trained professional like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or developmental pediatrician. There are different types of tests and assessments used to diagnose ASD, which can impact the overall cost.


Diagnostic Process

Getting an autism diagnosis involves a comprehensive evaluation by a team of professionals. Here are the key components of an autism assessment:

Developmental History – The evaluation starts with an interview with parents or caregivers to get a detailed history of the child’s development and behaviors. This provides important background information.

Medical Exam – A medical doctor will give the child a checkup to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing symptoms.

Hearing and Vision Tests – These tests determine if the child has any sensory issues that may affect behavior or development.

Psychological Testing – A psychologist or neuropsychologist will administer a series of standardized tests to assess cognitive skills like memory, problem-solving, and language abilities. This helps determine developmental level.

Language Assessment – A speech-language pathologist will evaluate the child’s verbal and nonverbal communication skills. This includes things like eye contact and gesture use.

Adaptive Behavior Assessment – Parents or teachers may be asked to complete questionnaires about the child’s social skills and daily living capabilities to gauge adaptive functioning.

Observation – The clinical team will observe the child interacting and playing to look for signs of autism, like repetitive behaviors or lack of social engagement.

The results from these various assessments will be analyzed to determine if the child meets the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The clinical team will look for developmental delays and deficits in social communication and interaction.


Professionals Involved

Several types of professionals may be involved in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD):

  • Psychologists: Clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists are often involved in conducting psychological and developmental evaluations for ASD. They have expertise in administering tests, interviewing parents, and making a diagnosis based on the DSM criteria.

  • Psychiatrists: Child psychiatrists can also conduct medical evaluations and diagnose ASD. They have specialized medical training and can prescribe medications if needed.

  • Developmental pediatricians: These are medical doctors who specialize in child development. They evaluate children for developmental delays and disabilities.

  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs): SLPs assess communication skills like language production and comprehension. They can identify language delays associated with ASD.

  • Occupational therapists (OTs): OTs evaluate sensory processing, motor skills, play skills, and adaptive behaviors. Their assessment helps understand how ASD affects daily functioning.

  • Behavioral therapists: Specialists like applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists can assess behaviors like social skills that are relevant to an ASD diagnosis.

A comprehensive autism evaluation will likely involve several professionals from this list to get a multidimensional view of the child’s development and behaviors. The diagnostic team works together to synthesize findings and determine if the criteria for ASD are met.


Types of Testing

Several different types of tests can be used to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some of the most common include:

ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule)

The ADOS is one of the most widely used tools for diagnosing ASD. It involves direct observation of the child engaging in various activities with a clinician. The clinician looks for behaviors related to social interaction, communication, play, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. The test takes about 30-60 minutes to complete.

ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised)

The ADI-R is a structured interview conducted with parents or caregivers. It covers the child’s developmental history and current behavior. Questions focus on communication, social interactions, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The interview typically takes 1-3 hours.

Cognitive/IQ Testing

Cognitive and developmental testing is often done to assess intellectual ability and profile strengths and weaknesses. Common tests include the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), Stanford-Binet, Differential Ability Scales (DAS), and Leiter International Performance Scale.

Speech/Language Assessments

Since language and communication deficits are a core symptom of ASD, speech and language assessments are common. These can help identify challenges with things like vocabulary, grammar, articulation, and social communication.

Medical Evaluation

A medical exam helps rule out other conditions that may have overlapping symptoms with ASD, such as hearing loss or genetic disorders. Blood tests, neurological exams, and genetic testing may be included.

Sensory Profile

Children with ASD often have unusual responses to sensory stimuli. A sensory profile questionnaire can help identify sensitivities to things like touch, sound, smell, etc.

Adaptive Behavior Assessment

This evaluation looks at everyday living skills and how well the child can function independently with self-care, communication, academics, etc.


Cost by Test Type

The type of testing used to diagnose autism can significantly impact the total cost. Here’s a breakdown of common autism test costs:

Developmental Screenings

  • Developmental screenings are often the first step in the diagnostic process. These standardized questionnaires and checklists screen for potential concerns in areas like speech, motor skills, cognition, and social skills.

  • On average, developmental screenings cost $50-200 depending on the specific screening tool used. Many pediatricians do these screenings as part of routine well-child visits, so there may be no additional cost.

Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluations

  • Comprehensive autism evaluations involve a multi-disciplinary assessment, often conducted by a team of professionals like psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.

  • Comprehensive evaluations typically cost $2000-5000. This in-depth testing aims to provide an accurate autism diagnosis while ruling out other conditions.

  • Many insurers cover some or all of these costs if there is a clinical need for testing. Families may need to pay deductibles or copays.

Genetic Testing

  • Genetic tests like chromosomal microarrays and Fragile X testing can identify genetic mutations associated with autism.

  • These tests cost $200-3000 depending on the lab and specific genetic analyses. Insurance coverage varies.

Hearing and Vision Tests

  • Since sensory issues can impact development, hearing and vision exams are often part of an autism evaluation.

  • Basic hearing and vision screenings are typically covered as preventive care. More advanced assessments may involve out-of-pocket fees.

Other Specialized Testing

  • Speech, occupational therapy, EEG, and other specialty evaluations provide additional insight but increase costs. Expect to pay $300-1000 per specialty test.

In summary, autism testing costs range widely depending on the tests involved. Working with providers in your insurance network can help maximize coverage and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.


Cost by Age

The cost of autism testing often depends on the age of the individual being evaluated. Testing children tends to be less expensive than testing adults. Here’s an overview of the cost differences:


  • Diagnostic evaluations for young children typically range from $2,000-$3,000.

  • Assessments for toddlers and preschoolers usually cost less than evaluations for older children. Testing a 2-year-old may range from $1,500-$2,500 while testing a 5-year-old could cost $2,500-$3,500.

  • Comprehensive autism testing for children often includes play-based assessments, interviews with parents and teachers, and observations across multiple settings like home and school.


  • For adults, autism testing typically ranges from $3,000-$5,000.

  • A full diagnostic evaluation involves an extensive clinical interview, plus discussions with family members to assess early childhood behavior. Several lengthy direct assessments are administered.

  • The process for testing adults is more complex, as clinicians need to differentiate autism from other possible conditions. Assessing an adult’s current abilities and challenges is also more difficult.

  • Due to the complexity, testing fees for adults are usually higher than the costs for testing children. However, prices can vary based on location and individual provider.

The cost difference highlights the importance of early detection and intervention for autism. Identifying autism in young children allows for earlier treatment which can improve outcomes. Testing adults still has benefits for understanding strengths and challenges and accessing supportive services. But the process tends to be more expensive.


Cost by Provider

The cost of autism testing can vary significantly depending on the type of provider conducting the evaluation. Here’s a breakdown of typical costs by provider:


Hospital-based clinics often have the highest rates for autism testing, ranging from $2,000-$5,000 or more. Academic medical centers and children’s hospitals with autism specialty clinics will be on the higher end. The comprehensive eval may involve a team of specialists including psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists.

Private Practices

Private practices of developmental pediatricians, neuropsychologists, child psychologists, and behavior analysts typically charge $1,500-$3,000 for an autism evaluation. Some clinics specialize in autism assessments and may offer a sliding scale or financial assistance.


Public schools provide free autism testing but often have long waitlists. The school district’s special education team conducts the evaluation. If parents want testing outside the school, they may still qualify for financial assistance based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

University Clinics

University-affiliated clinics can offer autism assessments for $500-$1,500 based on income. These nonprofits and training clinics utilize grad students supervised by licensed clinicians to provide low-cost testing. The waitlist may be several months.

As you can see, costs vary widely based on the reputation and resources of the provider. Working with insurance and advocates to find affordable options is key.


Insurance Coverage

Getting an autism diagnosis can be expensive, but insurance may be able to help offset some of the costs. Both public and private insurance plans may provide some coverage for autism testing and diagnosis.

Public insurance through Medicaid provides autism coverage in many states. The specific services covered through Medicaid vary by state but often include developmental screenings, diagnostic evaluations by qualified professionals, and any necessary medical tests. Medicaid recipients do not need to pay anything out of pocket for covered services.

Private health insurance also frequently covers autism diagnoses, but the details depend on the specific plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, most plans are required to cover autism screening for children at no charge to the policyholder. Diagnostic testing is generally covered as well but may require paying a deductible or coinsurance.

The level of coverage for diagnostic evaluations and which specific tests are covered varies significantly between different private insurance providers. It’s important to contact your insurance company directly to find out the details of your autism diagnosis coverage. Some plans may limit coverage to certain types of providers or set an annual maximum benefit amount.

Seeking in-network providers is key to maximizing insurance benefits for autism diagnosis. Out-of-network services often have higher out-of-pocket costs or may not be covered at all. If your plan requires referrals for specialists like psychologists or neurologists, be sure to obtain the proper referral before scheduling testing.


Financial Assistance

There are options for financial assistance to help cover the costs of autism testing and diagnosis. Many families find the costs prohibitive without support.

Nonprofit organizations like Autism Speaks provide grants to help families in financial need access diagnostic services and testing. They have a Family Services Community Grants program that provides funding up to $5,000 per family for diagnosis and other essential services. Families must meet eligibility criteria related to income level and location.

Local autism advocacy chapters and support groups may also have funds available to help families in their community get an autism diagnosis. These are often smaller amounts like $500-1000 but can make a difference in affording copays and testing fees. Reaching out to autism nonprofits in your city or state is a good place to start.

Medicaid, state disability services, and health insurance marketplace plans sometimes assist with diagnosis costs for children, depending on location and plan. It’s worth exploring coverage through public assistance programs if applicable to your family’s situation. State vocational rehabilitation agencies can also potentially assist adults seeking an autism diagnosis.

Some diagnostic centers, universities, and health providers offer financial assistance or sliding scale fees to make testing more affordable. This often requires submitting tax returns and other financial documents to verify the need. Large hospital systems and universities with autism clinics are most likely to have these programs.

Seeking financial aid through grants, nonprofits, public assistance programs, and service providers can help families access autism testing they couldn’t otherwise afford. Support is available, and being proactive in searching out these resources is key. An autism diagnosis is critical for accessing services and support, so pursuing financial assistance enables families to get their child or loved one the help they need.



This guide has provided an overview of the costs associated with getting an autism diagnosis. The key takeaways are:

  • The diagnostic process involves an evaluation by a team of professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.

  • The main types of autism testing include developmental screening, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, neurological testing, genetic testing, hearing testing, vision testing, and other medical tests.

  • Costs range widely based on the types of tests, the child’s age, and the service provider. Testing can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 or more.

  • Health insurance may cover some autism testing, but coverage varies. Families should review their policies and contact their insurer.

  • There are financial assistance programs that can help offset the costs of an autism evaluation for those who qualify. Resources include state Medicaid programs, grants from autism organizations, and sliding fee scales.

  • Early intervention is key. If autism is suspected, it’s important to have a child evaluated as soon as possible to get them the support they need. Don’t let costs deter you from seeking an assessment.

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