Serving the community from three locations:

Mt Vernon

111 Progress Dr
Mt. Vernon, KY 40456
Phone: 606-401-2075
Fax: 606-401-2076

Mt Sterling

1099 Indian Mound Dr., Suite A
Mt. Sterling KY 40353
Phone: 606-386-0079
Fax: 606-401-2076


2430 Monticello Rd
Somerset, KY 42501
Phone: 606-492-2340
Fax: 606-254-0488

on counseling

Perhaps you're down or anxious - maybe you're unsure about the future of a relationship, or just feel that you aren't living the life you were meant to lead. Whatever your needs may be, we are here for support. Our calling is to help individuals find and focus on their true potential.Therapy is a process of growth and self-discovery, and in our sessions, we promote behavioral transformation by encouraging a positive outlook and the adoption of new attitudes and reactions. We have the tools and professional experience to help you get back on track.Our pasts may define us, but we define our future today. Together, we can embrace a brighter tomorrow.

a little perspective

  • Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.

  • 46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.

  • Number of US Adults with Anxiety Disorders: 42.5 million

  • Number of US Adults with a Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year: 19 million

  • Across the CDC surveillance sites, an average of 1 in every 36 (2.8%) 8-year-old children were estimated to have ASD in 2020.

  • An estimated 3.6% of U.S. adults had PTSD in the past year.

  • 48% of LGBTQ youth reported an inability to receive mental health counseling in the past year.

  • Number of US Adults with Depression: 21 million

  • Number of US Adults with Suicidal Thoughts: 11.4 million

*According to the National Institute for Mental Health

services offered

Individual therapy

If you’re looking for quality Individual Therapy sessions with a Licensed Professional Counselor who cares, you’ve come to the right place. We guide our patients every step of the way and implement various methods to help them develop new attitudes toward all of life’s most complex matters. Schedule an appointment today and see what we can accomplish together.

Couples therapy

Couples therapy can enhance the connection between adults engaged in a long-term relationship. Our Couples Therapy sessions help clients develop positive attitudes toward life’s most complex and challenging circumstances, improve communication skills, deepen connections with one another, address underlying conflicts, compromise, and address major transitions in the relationship. Contact our office today and let us help you find the best in yourself and your relationship.Couples Therapy can be helpful in several ways, including:

  • A sounding board

  • Understanding relationship dynamics

  • Seeing the other perspective

  • Learning to cope

  • Relationship education

targeted case management

If you need additional help outside of counseling services, we now offer Targeted Case Management to assist adults with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorder, as well as children with a serious emotional disability, in gaining access to needed medical, social, educational, or other services within the community. Our Targeted Case Managers work directly with clients and their guardian(s), (if applicable), to personalize services in order to improve and meet each need of the client. Contact our office to schedule an appointment or speak to your therapist to see if you qualify.

psychiatric medication management

Some mental health disorders are best treated with counseling, however, there are other disorders that can be effectively treated through therapy and medication management. The most successful interventions combine the two. Psychiatric medications take careful medication management in which the patient and psychiatric nurse practitioner work together to ensure the medication is working effectively and safely. Contact our office today to schedule a Psychiatric Assessment to determine if medication management is right for you.This office does not prescribe any controlled substances.

Family therapy

In our therapy sessions, we work to solve current problems and improve positive thinking and behavior. We will help you “re-frame” your reactions and provide valuable tools to cope with life’s obstacles. We are confident you’ll find our personalized Family Therapy beneficial and inspirational. Get in touch to book an appointment.


If you or a loved one needs an autism assessment, mental health, substance abuse, or parenting assessment, contact us to find out how we can help. With several years of experience in assessing various mental health issues and substance abuse concerns, we may be able to help without traveling out of town.Most Popular Assessments:

  • Substance Abuse Questionnaire (SAQ)

  • Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory 2.1 (AAPI-2.1)

  • Depression Assessments

  • Anxiety Assessments

  • Mood Disorder Questionnaire

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2)

  • Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R)

  • Conner's 3 (Used for diagnosing ADHD)

This list is not comprehensive, please contact our office if there is a specific assessment you have questions about.

intensive outpatient program (IOP)

Victory Counseling now offers Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is an outpatient treatment program recommended and used for substance use disorders as an alternative to inpatient rehabilitation treatment. IOP may be recommended for those who do not need medically supervised detox. IOP can also enable people in recovery to continue their recovery therapies following successful detox or completion of inpatient rehabilitation, on a part-time yet intensive schedule, designed to accommodate work and family life. We will use The Matrix Model, a structured treatment experience where clients will attend two to three 3-hour sessions per week, for 16 weeks and incorporate individual, group, family, and social sessions. If you are interested, please reach out to us for more information.

peer support services

Peer Support Specialists are individuals in recovery from substance use disorder(s) or other mental health conditions, who complete required training and use their own recovery experiences to help others with similar conditions. Peer Support Specialists can help guide clients toward identification and achievement of specific goals that are defined by the client and specified in the treatment plan. Peer Support Specialists do not replace counselors, but offer additional options to help clients in their own efforts to recover, as part of the treatment team.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please click below or call the toll-free number for 24/7 free and confidential support through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Appointment Registration

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

Required Forms

Intake Registration

This is the standard intake document that every client must completely fill out. It is available in-office or right here for your convenience. The file below can be printed and filled out prior to your appointment to expedite the process.

Autism Assessment Registration

This is the registration form for an autism assessment. It is available in-office or right here for your convenience. The file below can be printed and filled out prior to your appointment to expedite the process.

Release of Information

This is a release of information form that must be filled out completely in order for Victory to share any of your confidential data with a third party.


This is the referral form used by Victory Counseling when accepting new patients. This form DOES NOT need to be filled out by the individual. For use by PCP and referral departments.

Medication Management Registration

This form is used to acquire information from the patient requesting medication management and appointments with our APRN.


Angela J. Silva, LPCC-S, NCC

Clinician/Partner, Mt. Vernon Office

I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor (LPCC-S) in Kentucky with over 9 years of experience. I received my Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2014. I have experience working with children, adolescents, and adult clients with a wide range of concerns including depression, anxiety, parenting concerns, substance use/abuse problems, psychotic disorders, Bipolar Disorder, anger management concerns, OCD, and ADHD. I also have experience working with persons who may have experienced trauma. I truly care for all of my clients and work diligently to help find them the answers they seek. Since 2014, I have worked with a variety of clients dealing with circumstances that are unique to their lives.

Steve Hammond, LPCC

Clinician/Partner, Mt. Sterling Office

I am a proud Husband, Father (of three boys), Christian, Counselor, Lifelong Student, Abuse Survivor, and Friend. My passion is helping others, and thankfully over my past 9 years of experience in mental health work and schooling, I have been able to make my passion a career. I believe every person has strengths to be tapped into and the ability to make changes in their lives, and I enjoy being a witness and aid to that change. I graduated with two master's in both school and mental health counseling, and currently hold an LPCC license in KY and look forward to helping you overcome obstacles in your own life through my education and experience.

Kaley Wheeldon, LPCA, PBSS

Clinician, Somerset Office

I am a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate (LPCA) and Positive Behavior Support Specialist (PBSS). I graduated from the University of the Cumberlands with a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health and Professional Counseling. I have experience working with children with autism, teens, young adults, and families. I strive every day to show compassion, understanding, and love to all my clients in all walks of life.

Allie Dodson, BS, TCM

Targeted Case Manager

I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences with a Bachelor's Degree in psychology and a concentration in general psychology. My ultimate goal is to earn my Doctorate and become a clinical psychologist, though before that, I would like to earn my Master's Degree and practice therapy. I am interested in working with all ages, and in the future, I hope to offer a variety of therapies, treatments, and services to a diverse group of individuals. I look forward to providing case management services!

Brandy Lantz, BA, TCM

Targeted Case Manager

I graduated from West Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of General Studies degree in 2011 and have experience working in case management. I am currently in my senior year at Liberty University obtaining my Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. I am passionate about helping individuals heal from PTSD and substance use disorders. I provide TCM services at Victory Counseling and would love to work with you to uncover your full potential and live your best life.

Kenneth Silva, Jr., PSS, CSA

Peer Support Specialist, Community Support Associate

I am a community support associate and 1982 GED Graduate from Richmond High School, in Indiana. I am also a 13-year Army/Army Reserve/Army National Guard Veteran. After over 10 years of serving God through the church in several ministries, I now work at Victory Counseling because I have a passion for helping people, restoring marriages, and helping bring families back together after addiction has separated them. I am married to my best friend of 22 years and have 3 beautiful daughters, a handsome son, 2 granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter.

Victoria Smith, PSS, CSA

Peer Support Specialist, Community Support Associate

I am a proud wife and honored mother/mother figure to 6 wonderful children. I have had a passion and calling to help others for as long as I can remember. I am a true believer that life is the greatest teacher of all. I, myself, have many stories to tell, some that give a good laugh and some that are hard to retell, but all came with a lesson. Drawing from my own experiences, I aim to provide comfort, understanding, and guidance. I believe in the power of resilience and hope, and I am here to remind you of your own strength and potential. I am here not only to listen but to empower you and help you realize that you are not alone. I want to inspire hope and confidence to support self efficacy. Let us learn new skills together! Whether you need help with budgeting, finding resources, or just need someone to talk to, I simply want to help you be the best you can be!

Accepted insurance


Anthem Medicaid
Aetna Better Health Medicaid
Humana Medicaid
United Healthcare Community Plan Medicaid
WellCare Medicaid
Passport/Molina Medicaid


Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Anthem Commercial
Anthem EAP

other commercial plans

Humana Commercial
United Healthcare Commercial

not accepted

Medicare (Will accept starting Jan. 2024)
Aetna Commercial

private pay

If you do not have insurance, our private pay rates are:Intake Appointment - $100
Follow Up Appointments - $85
Sliding scale payment may be discussed during the first session.

autism assessment service

Our clinicians use the ADOS-2, along with other screeners and assessments, as well as observations and reported history, to diagnose autism. The ADOS-2 is a Level C assessment, which means that someone with a master’s degree (e.g., MA, MS, MSW, CAGS) in psychology or a related field (e.g., occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, special education, counseling, etc.), as well as experience or training in neuropsychological assessment, is able to utilize the assessment. At this time, Angela Silva, MA, LPCC-S, NCC, Steve Hammond, MA, LPCC, and Kaley Wheeldon, MA, LPCA are trained and certified to perform the ADOS-2.

referral documentation required

As a courtesy, we offer the autism assessments in 2 parts. It starts with the autism screening—a preliminary assessment of your, or your child's, autistic traits which will indicate if pursuing a formal diagnosis is warranted. If so, the therapist will continue with the diagnostic assessment—resulting in a formal diagnosis.Below are the two parts and what they consist of.For an accurate autism assessment, a child must be over 4 years of age. An assessment cannot be performed on a child younger than 48 months.

part 1

Autism screeningThe autism screening consists of the following:

  • Clinical Interview of client and/or parent(s)/guardian(s).

  • Age-appropriate assessments/questionnaires.

  • A review of your information, based on the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.

At the end of the screening process, the therapist will advise whether continuing with the diagnostic assessment is warranted.

part 2

Diagnostic assessmentThe diagnostic assessment consists of:

  • Additional assessments, if needed.

  • A 45-60 minute in-person assessment, based on the ADOS-2 (Telehealth can be utilized for adults only).

  • A review of the information obtained, based on the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.

  • A comprehensive report based on the data acquired during the assessment process with the assigned diagnosis. This can take up to 2 weeks after the diagnostic interview has taken place.

We can include ADHD and/or other behavioral assessments if requested in advance.


We do accept parent referrals for autism assessment for children over 4 years of age, however, the more information we have in hand at the time of assessment, the better chances of your child receiving an accurate diagnosis. Therefore, please obtain as much of the information listed below as possible and bring it with you to the appointment. You can fill out the referral at the bottom of the page by clicking the link and faxing or emailing it back to us.


If you are referring a patient for autism assessment, please provide the following information along with the referral, located in the link at the bottom of the page.Referring providers developmental behavioral concerns, which should include:

  • Medical history.

  • Past evaluations from any developmental-behavioral pediatrics provider.

  • Specific office notes related to the developmental-behavioral concerns.

  • Records of any previously recommended treatments, such as outpatient developmental therapies or medications to address the symptoms of concern.

  • ADHD: Vanderbilt or Conners behavior rating scales.

  • Autism spectrum disorder: M-CHAT or Social Communications Questionnaire.

  • Global developmental delay: Developmental screenings, including Ages & Stages Questionnaire, PEDS, or others.

  • Relevant school evaluations, including:

  • IEP

  • 504 plan

  • Integrated reports (IQ testing, psychoeducational evaluation, school academic testing, etc.)

Click here for fillable forms.

Sliding scale discount

how do i apply the sliding fee discount?

Clients interested in signing up for the discount may complete the Sliding Scale Fee application, which can be obtained from the front desk, provide proof of income, and return to the front desk, staff member, or clinician. The client will then meet with the appropriate staff member before their visit with the provider.

The discount program is based on family income. To receive the discount, the patient must provide verification of income. Which may include the following:

  • 2 – 3 Paycheck Stubs

  • Letter from Social Security/Disability

  • Copy of Check/Bank Statement to Verify Child Support Payments

  • Other documents may work, so please ask us about specific requirements.

what kind of discount can clients receive?

The discount level is based on the income and number of family members in the household. Please contact us so we can determine the appropriate discount for you.Victory Counseling does NOT offer free services. Payment for services is due at the time of service.For your convenience, we accept cash, checks, and debit/credit cards.

Notice to Clients:
This practice serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Discounts for essential services are offered based on family size and income. For more information about our Sliding Fee Schedule, ask one of our staff members.
Thank you.
AVISO PARA PACIENTES:Esta práctica atiende a todos los pacientes independientemente de su capacidad de pago. Se ofrecen descuentos para servicios esenciales según el tamaño de la familia y los ingresos. Para obtener más información sobre nuestro programa de tarifas móviles, pregunte a uno de nuestro personal.

Updates & Articles

Trainings currently offered

These trainings have been approved by DBHDID to meet the requirements set forth in 908 KAR 2:260

TCM Core 2-Day Training


TCM 6-Hour SMI training


Adult Peer Support Specialist training

Training will be on Mondays and Wednesdays for 2 weeks via telehealth.

30 Hours (Broken Down into Four Days)
DBHDID Approved

TCM 6-Hour SUD Training




Community Support Associate (CSA) training

TCM 6-Hour SED Training


All TCM Trainings
w/ discount


TCM Core 2-Day Registration

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

TCM 6-Hour SUD RegistrationT

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

TCM 6-Hour SED Registration

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

TCM 6-Hour smi Registration

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

CCPHC 6-Hour TCM Registration

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

All TCM Training Registration

Please fill out the following fields to apply for training!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.


Here, you'll find answers to commonly asked questions. For questions not answered here, please reach out to our staff.

what is victory counseling?

Victory Counseling is a counseling service dedicated to the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the community. Built on the foundational principles of human compassion, moral integrity, and Christian faith; it is our mission to serve in any capacity that we are able.

who does victory serve?

Victory is proud to serve everyone unconditionally. No one in need will be turned away. Regardless of age, race, gender, or religion, we are here to help in whatever way, by any means possible. Should a situation be beyond our means, we will actively seek assistance alternatives and resources.

what services does victory provide?

Victory is proud to offer a variety of services and resources including:

  • Individual, Family, and Couples Counseling

  • Mental Health Assessments, including behavioral health screening

  • Medication Management

  • Parenting Classes

  • Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment (IOP)

  • Drug Testing, Dip Screens, and Lab Testing

Victory is unable to provide the following services:

  • Autism Assessments for patients under 3 years of age.

  • Medication Management for ADHD (can't prescribe stimulants)

  • IQ Testing

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse)

  • DUI Testing

  • EMDR Therapy

who are the counselors?

We have a specialized group of licensed professionals on staff. Diverse in backgrounds and beliefs, but unified under the banner of serving the community. Meet them individually here.

how much does it cost?

Some insurances cover our services completely. If services aren’t completely covered, the out-of-pocket expense varies case by case, but we make every effort to keep costs manageable. Payment plans and sliding scale options are available.

why does it cost?

Funds are necessary for our staff to be the best educated and well-equipped professionals, capable of serving the community’s many needs and meeting our exemplary standards. For us to support the community, we must be supported in kind. One more example of how we are all in this together.

Check in

Welcome! Please fill out the following form to check in!

*By providing your phone number to Victory Counseling, LLC, you agree that we may send you text messages. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency will vary. Reply STOP to opt - out of future messaging or HELP for more information. Please refer to our Privacy Policies for more information about how we manage your data.

Privacy Policy

The document below outlines our privacy policy. We encourage you to review it to understand how we handle and protect your data.

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Autism assessment month

by Angela Silva on March 31st, 2021

This April, we are joining the Autism Society of America in its third annual “Celebrate Differences” campaign in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. #CelebrateDifferences encourages individuals with autism and their families to live full, quality lives through connection and acceptance. This year, we acknowledge the shift from “Awareness” to “Acceptance.” While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter -- the need for acceptance is greater than ever, as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life. To highlight the importance of fostering acceptance we are using the following hashtags in our social media posts: #AutismAcceptanceMonth, #CelebrateDifferences, and #IAmMe. We invite you to do the same as we work to build an inclusive society where individuals with autism live fully through connection and acceptance.Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.
We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think, and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently. Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and attention issues.
Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, they can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism. ("What is Autism?",, 2021).
* In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.Autism’s sensory issues can involve both hyper-sensitivities (over-responsiveness) and hypo-sensitivities (under-responsiveness) to a wide range of stimuli.These can involve:

  • Sights

  • Sounds

  • Smells

  • Tastes

  • Touch

  • Balance

  • Body awareness (proprioception)

For example, many people on the spectrum are hyper-sensitive to bright lights or certain light wavelengths (e.g. from fluorescent lights). Many find certain sounds, smells, and tastes overwhelming. Certain types of touch (light or deep) can feel extremely uncomfortable.

This video, by two students at the Ringling College of Art & Design, simulates the “sensory overload” experienced by many people affected by autism.Hypo-sensitivities are likewise common. A low sensitivity to pain is a classic example. Another is under-responsiveness to the body signals that help control balance and physical coordination. This can result in clumsiness, which has long been associated with autism.How can I help someone with autism-related sensitivities?Awareness and accommodation can help ease related discomfort. Remember each person with autism is unique, and this includes their personal sensitivities.

Autism Assessment and Diagnosis

by Angela Silva on April 5th, 2021

There can be a lot of questions for a client, parents, guardians, and caretakers when thinking about how to have a loved one, or even yourself, assessed and possibly diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This post will cover some information from screening recommendations to diagnostic tools that can help make the process a bit less confusing.Developmental screening can be completed by a number of professionals in health care, community, and school settings. However, primary healthcare providers are in a unique position to promote children’s developmental health.Primary care providers are a great resource as they have regular contact with children and can provide a more complete medical assessment when a screening indicates a child is at risk for a possible developmental problem, as well as referrals to a specialist for assessment and diagnosis.Tools for screeningThere are a lot of screening tools available, however, it is ideal to have other sources of information as well, such as parents’ or caregivers’ descriptions of their child’s development and a professional’s observation of the child’s behavior. Below are a few of the most popular screening tools for general development and ASD. These are usually completed at the direction of, or by, the provider.

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) - This is a general developmental screening tool. Parent-completed questionnaire; series of 19 age-specific questionnaires screening communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal adaptive skills; results in a pass/fail score for domains.

  • Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS) - Standardized tool for screening of communication and symbolic abilities up to the 24-month level; the Infant Toddler Checklist is a 1-page, parent-completed screening tool.

  • Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) - This is a general developmental screening tool. Parent-interview form; screens for developmental and behavioral problems needing further evaluation; single response form used for all ages; may be useful as a surveillance tool.

  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT) - Parent-completed questionnaire designed to identify children at risk for autism in the general population.

  • Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children (STAT) - This is an interactive screening tool designed for children when developmental concerns are suspected. It consists of 12 activities assessing play, communication, and imitation skills and takes 20 minutes to administer.

When should screenings occur?The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child doctor visits at:

  • 9 months

  • 18 months

  • 30 months

Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for developmental problems because of preterm birth or low birth weight.In addition, all children should be screened specifically for ASD during regular well-child doctor visits at:

*Additional screening may also be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD (e.g., having a sibling with ASD) or if symptoms are present.It is important for families to be involved in the screening process as they are a source of direct information regarding a child's behaviors, development, and language.*It should also be noted that a screening and/or assessment can be done at any age.Diagnostic ToolsThere are a lot of assessment tools available, however, it is ideal to have other sources of information as well, such as parents’ or caregivers’ descriptions of their child’s development and a professional’s observation of the child’s behavior.In some cases, the primary care provider might choose to refer the child and family to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. Such specialists include neurodevelopmental pediatricians, neurologists, and/or counselors who are trained in the specific assessment to be given. Below are a few examples of assessments, some of which require gathering information from sources, as well as observation of the client being assessed, and are only completed by the provider assessing for the diagnosis. These assessments do require training to complete.

  • Autism Diagnosis Interview-Revised (ADI-R) - A clinical diagnostic instrument for assessing autism in children and adults. The instrument focuses on behavior in three main areas: reciprocal social interaction; communication and language; and restricted and repetitive, stereotyped interests and behaviors. The ADI-R is appropriate for children and adults with mental ages about 18 months and above.

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – (ADOS) - A semi-structured, standardized assessment of social interaction, communication, play, and imaginative use of materials for individuals suspected of having ASD. The observational schedule consists of four 30-minute modules, each designed to be administered to different individuals according to their level of expressive language. This has been updated with a Second Edition.

  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) - Brief assessment suitable for use with any child over 2 years of age. CARS includes items drawn from five prominent systems for diagnosing autism; each item covers a particular characteristic, ability, or behavior.

  • Gilliam Autism Rating Scale – Second Edition (GARS-2) - Assists teachers, parents, and clinicians in identifying and diagnosing autism in individuals ages 3 through 22. It also helps estimate the severity of the child’s disorder.

Screening and Diagnosis of ASD for Healthcare Providers. (2021). National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Eight reasons to consider contacting a counselor

by Angela Silva on June 20th, 2023

To Overcome Stress Factors
Stress is an element of everyday life for everyone. It’s inescapable. But an overabundance of stress can–and all too often does–interfere with our well-being. A good counselor can assist in identifying areas of life where the burden of stress might be alleviated and then provide tools to address those factors.
Imagine the weight of unnecessary strain lifted–the relief, the freedom. An improved sense of self and peace of mind often leads to opened doors and the perspective to recognize overlooked opportunities.
To Manage Anxiety
Hand in hand with stress comes anxiety. Together, they breed fear, and in no time at all it becomes too much. We get overwhelmed, fall into a numb funk, or seek out distractions to suppress the feelings we don’t want to face. These are natural reactions, however, they are not always the healthiest options.
We can be our own worst enemies and sometimes it takes an outside source to identify problems that we ourselves are blind to. Much the way we can oftentimes provide guidance to our friends and family in their times of trial but struggle to manage our own. A therapist can help identify and address the causes of anxiety with coping strategies, unbiased guidance, and assist in establishing healthier thought patterns.
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety disorders are largely treatable, and the average case can be resolved with effective counseling.
To Foster Positive Behaviors, Thoughts, And Feelings—And To Reconcile Unhealthy Patterns
Negativity to any degree can interfere with our moods, relationships, daily routines, and sleep patterns. A therapist can help identify and reshape negative thoughts through cognitive restructuring. When a strong sense of self and situational awareness is developed, a person can identify, challenge, and modify negative thought patterns with greater ease. Less negativity makes for more positive experiences and consequently a finer quality of life.
To Treat Depression
Therapy is a tried-and-true means to identify the contributing factors of depression and then manage them in healthy ways. Like a good ship captain, a therapist can assist in coping with symptoms of stormy weather and safely guide a troubled vessel through turbulent waters.
Depression is among the most common mental health concerns in the world. It afflicts people of every race, religion, age, and orientation with no regard for occupations, agendas, or insurance premiums. We are all susceptible. On the bright side, Depression is highly treatable and there are passionate individuals ready and willing to give a helping hand. When someone is struggling, they need only reach out.
To build confidence
The phrase ‘Knowledge is power’ has withstood the test of time primarily because it is true. True in the time of its conception and perhaps more so in present times. Understanding ourselves informs our understanding of others and our abilities to empathize, interact, and communicate.
Improved capabilities build confidence in oneself and this is what therapists are trained to do. They work with individuals to assist in developing their full potential and dramatically improve a person’s sense of self. What power is greater than an unshakable sense of self?
To navigate the emotional vacuum of loss and grief
A loss of any kind affects us to some degree. A little irritability when we misplace our car keys or mild panic when our billfold elopes. Emotional pain when relationships fail can haunt us for a while, but nothing is as devastating as the loss of a person dear to us. Death is a traumatic life-altering experience for those of us left behind, the scope of which is unfathomable. Grief is deeply personal and affects individuals differently.
Counseling can ease the suffering as a processing outlet. Counselors will provide a light and a lifeline for navigating troubled times with a safe, confidential environment where the turmoil can be addressed and worked through.
To address relationship concerns and strengthen the ties that bind
Families are complicated.
It’s a universally understood and accepted concept. Less understood is the dysfunction that is common among groups of people who share living spaces across the globe. People we live and surround ourselves with, are those that we lean on the most. Depend on the most. And they are also the ones we hurt the most–as we are in turn often hurt by them.
Communication with society is never easy and it’s a fair bit more difficult with those we care about, those that we are vulnerable to. We can walk away from strangers and let most relationships break, but family is a bond significantly more durable which is why familial dysfunction is overly common and exceptionally troublesome.
Counseling, through an impartial mediator, can open communication channels that have broken down, mend relation fractures, and ultimately strengthen the ties that bind for a happy, healthy family life.
To identify and deal with abnormal concerns (autism/ADHD/depression/anxiety etc.)
“Something just feels off. It has for a while and I’ve just dealt with it.”
Sound familiar? This is an extremely common sentiment across every field of health and medicine. The human body is a masterful creation that our greatest minds still do not completely understand, even with today’s cutting-edge technology.
The unique qualities inherent in each of us as individuals indicate we may never truly be completely understood and so we must do our best to know ourselves. Ironically we tend to ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us.
Is something bothering you? Are you experiencing untold symptoms? Is there a niggling suspicion in the back of your mind that something is off? Are you looking for resources? Answers? Just someone to talk to?
Victory Counseling is here. Reach out to us today and together we’ll find the answers.“For by wise guidance, you will wage war and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”