Unlike many conditions, there is no available blood test, diagnostic imaging scan, or other medical tests that can definitively diagnose autism spectrum disorders . Despite this, diagnosing autism as early as possible is imperative. When parents receive an autism diagnosis early in the child’s life, they can quickly arrange for early intervention services that will support the child during the crucial years of development. Typically, the process for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders begins with parental or pediatrician observations of developmental delays.
Scheduling an Appointment with a Pediatrician
Although your family’s experience may be different, the diagnostic process for autism may start with an appointment with a pediatrician. During your child’s regular check-ups, the pediatrician is likely to ask you some basic questions about his or her development. While some variations are to be expected, significant delays in motor skills, social skills, language acquisition, or other areas of development may warrant further evaluation. In other cases, parents become concerned about their children’s development and they may bring these issues to the attention of the pediatrician. Parents who are alert to the possible signs of autism can contribute to an early diagnosis.
Consulting a Behavior Analyst
If the pediatrician finds that the child’s development raises concerns, he or she may refer the parents to a behavior analyst. However, even if the pediatrician is not overly concerned about the child’s development, parents can certainly talk to a specialist regardless. Behavior analysts can conduct an in-depth evaluation of the child’s ability to follow the rules of conversation, understand the ambiguous use of non-literal language, use and interpret nonverbal communication cues, and use communication appropriately within a social context. If the child is found to have an autism spectrum disorder, the behavior analyst can use the findings of the evaluation to inform the autism therapy recommendations .
Parents who are concerned that their children aren’t developing at a rate that is on target for their age range can contact The Behavior Exchange. We are an ABA school near the DFW area that provides comprehensive and compassionate evaluation and intervention services based on evidence-based techniques. Parents can reach us by calling (888) 716-8084.