Autism Doctors: All you need to know

INTRODUCTION TO AUTISM DOCTORS

Autism interferes with the ability of a child to communicate and develop social skills. Autistic children appear emotionally detached. They may manifest obsessive behavior, such as preoccupation with a certain object, as reported by Mayo Clinic. The symptoms are not much and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms are often noticed by the age of 2.

Plenty of the symptoms are hard to localize. They are often confused with personality traits or developmental problems. This is why it is important to see a doctor if you suspect that your child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that for a diagnosis of ASD to be made, a number of different specialists and autism doctors will be needed. These specialists (from different fields) will observe your child’s behavior and inquire about their developmental process.

Autism doctors
Photo Credit: The Science Post

Listed below are the assessment points and the different specialists needed in order to make a diagnosis of your child’s condition:

Initial medical screenings

As part of your child’s regular checkup, the pediatrician or family physician conducts initial screenings. The child’s development is assessed by the autism doctor, the areas assessed are:

  • Language
  • Social skills
  • Behavior

If there is any abnormality noticed on assessment, you may be referred to a specialist.

Any specialist you are referred to should be someone that is highly skilled and has experience in the diagnostics of ASD. Ask your pediatrician for more recommendations in case you may need a second opinion later.

In-depth medical evaluation

Here, the most precise diagnosis is made by making the child to undergo ASD screening. ASD screening is not a medical test neither is it a blood test, so does not require sample collection. It just has to do with prolonged observation of your child’s behavior. Autism doctors make use of tests to check if the children are learning basic skills at the right time or whether there might be a delay. Also, you will be engaged in detailed parental reviews about your child.

The specialists who carry out these tests include:

  • Developmental pediatricians
  • Child clinical psychologists or psychiatrists
  • Pediatric neurologists
  • Audiologists (hearing specialists)
  • Physiotherapists
  • Speech therapists

At times, the diagnosis of ASD can be difficult to make. Your child may require a team of specialists to determine whether they have ASD or not. Only little differences exist between ASD and other developmental disorders thus it is important to only see well-trained specialists and also seek second and third opinions.

Educational evaluation

ASDs are not the same way in all children, and every child will have their own needs. Your child’s educators, in collaboration with a team of specialists will have to make their assessments about any special services the child may need in school. This evaluation can still happen irrespective of a medical diagnosis.

The evaluation team should include the following people:

  • Psychologists
  • Hearing and vision specialists
  • Social workers
  • Teachers

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK AUTISM DOCTORS

If the autism doctors think that your child may have ASD, you may be confused and have so many questions in mind and may miss out on some while asking. To make that step easier, Mayo clinic has compiled a list of questions that would be helpful, they include:

  • Why do you think my child does or doesn’t, have ASD?
  • Is there a way to confirm the diagnosis?
  • If my child actually has an ASD, is there a way to tell how severe it is?
  • What changes should I expect to see over time in my child?
  • What sort of special therapies or care do children with ASD need?
  • What is the cost and what kinds of regular medical care will my child need?
  • What kind of support exists for families of children with ASDs?
  • How can I learn more about ASDs?

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