Process of Diagnosing Autism

In order to accurately diagnosis autism, there must be an observation of the child’s communication, behavior and developmental levels. One brief observation cannot show a good picture of the child’s true abilities and behaviors. An important component to the diagnosis of autism is the input of the caregiver and a developmental history of the child. There are no specific medical test for autism. However, because many of the behaviors associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms being exhibited. At first glance, some persons with autism may appear to have mental retardation, a behavior disorder, problems with hearing, or even odd and eccentric behavior. To complicate matters further, these conditions can co-occur with autism.

There are several different types of professional that may be better able to observe and test a child in specific areas. A development pediatrician has experience treating health problems of children with developmental delays or handicaps. A child psychiatrist may be involved in the initial diagnosis. They can prescribe medication and provide help in behavior, emotional adjustment and social relationships. A clinical psychologist can help in understanding the nature and impact of developmental disabilities. They can perform psychological and assessment tests, as well as help with behavior modification and social skills training. An occupational therapist will focuses on practical, self-help skills that will aid in daily living, such as dressing and eating. They will also work on sensory integration, coordination of movement, and fine motor skills. A physical therapist will helps to improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves to develop muscle strength, coordination and motor skills. A speech therapist  will be involved in the improvement of communication skills, including speech and language. A social worker may provide counseling services or act as case manager helping to arrange services and treatments.

Entry Filed under: Signs of Autism

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