Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in children can create a huge difference in their lives and families. However, it is not easy to diagnose autism spectrum disorder: No lab can test it. Doctors will rely on observing behavioral changes in children and consider their parents’ concerns.
ASD has a wide range of symptoms. Some children categorized on the spectrum can have severe mental challenges, while others have a high level of intelligence, making it easy to live independently. Autism spectrum disorder is a two-stage process if your child is on the spectrum, starting with your pediatrician and then autism screening for toddlers.
Autism diagnosis process
Going to a pediatrician is the first step in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children. A child will get an assessment when 18 and 24 months old. This ensures that the child is on track, even when the symptoms are not yet visible.
The pediatrician will have time to talk and walk with your child to assess the situation at this stage. You will have to answer several questions from the pediatrician concerning the behaviors and development of the child. Also, the pediatrician will ask if your family has a history of anyone on the spectrum.
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Some of the milestones the doctor will be focused on include:
- Did the baby smile? (6 months)
- Did your baby mimic facial expressions and sounds? (9 months)
- Were there cooing and babbling? (12 months)
It is important to answer the questions asked by the pediatrician correctly to get true results. Some of the other important questions parents can be asked include:
- Does your baby have problems making eye contact?
- Are there repetitive or unusual behaviors?
- Does your baby share experiences or interact with people freely?
- Is there a tonal voice? (Flat)
- What is the response when someone tries to steal their attention?
- Any digestion of sleeping problems
- Do they understand people’s actions?
- Does your baby get angry or annoyed easily?
Your response will play an important role in your child’s ASD screening. If everything seems okay and the pedestrian doesn’t raise any concern, then your child is good to go.
Unfortunately, if your toddler shows some developmental problems or the pedestrian has concerns, then you will be referred to a specialist for further diagnosis.
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Visiting an ASD specialist
In the case where your child needs more tests, you should visit a team of autism spectrum disorder specialists:
- Occupational therapist
- Speech-language pathologist
- Child psychologist
- Developmental pediatrician
This next and advanced evaluation is to confirm your child’s certain activities like:
- Language abilities
- Cognitive level
- Dressing skills
- Eating behaviors
- Using the bathroom
For you to say your child is okay, they must meet the DSMMD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) standards. The doctor will use a monitoring device that uses artificial intelligence and data to follow the developments if your toddler shows ASD potential symptoms.