The signs and levels of Autism vary in each child. This can make getting a diagnosis difficult. Children on the higher level of the Autism spectrum may go years without being diagnosed. There are may factors that go into an Autism diagnosis. We will go over some of the criteria being used to diagnose a child with Autism.
|Autistic child with Easter egg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Doctors have a checklist that must be met before the possibility of Autism is suspected. Some of the signs on the checklist include, poor relationships with friends, focusing on one thing for very long periods of time, poor communications skills, and insisting on certain routines, or rituals. When these signs are shown in a child the doctor will want to evaluate the child further. The doctor will question the child's parents, or any other people that have close contact with the child. They may send home a form for you and the child's teacher to fill out. Once the doctor has the forms back they will compare the forms and look for similar results. If the results all are pointing to something being wrong further testing will be considered.
Children also develop at their own rate. So a parent having concerns about their child not reaching developmental milestones on time may question the doctor for further testing. The doctor will ask a series of questions to the parent. If the answers match the criteria for Autism the doctor will order further evaluations to be completed. Remember each child grows and matures at their own rate so they may just be a late bloomer.
There is not one test that can say definitely the child has Autism. It will require several appointments with different health professionals to rule out other conditions that could be causing the problems in your child. Often a child who is late to talk is suspected of having a hearing issue first. After this is checked then the doctor can move onto evaluating for Autism. Several health conditions can mimic the symptoms of Autism. Children always need to be evaluated for any other medical conditions that could cause the same symptoms as Autism first.
To receive an Autism diagnosis the child will be evaluated by a team of medical professionals. They will include the doctor, a psychologist, a speech therapist, a neurologist, and a psychiatrist. Once the child is evaluated by the team they will meet and compare their findings. Then they will have a meeting with the parents to discuss their findings . If the diagnosis of Autism is made a treatment plan will be set in place.
Each child will show different symptoms of Autism, and the levels they experience it will be different. So it may take longer to get a diagnoses of Autism in some children. Once you have the diagnoses the most important thing is to start a treatment plan. The treatment plan will help make the life of your Autistic child better. While there is no cure for Autism, the treatments available can help to lesson the symptoms.