An Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis-5 Ways To Make A Great Start
We are starting a multi part series called An Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis.
Currently approximately 1:59 kids worldwide are being diagnosed with autism.
So that is 1:59 parents who are searching for all the right answers and want to provide the best resources they can for their child.
It occurred to me that some of the parents might want some help finding a place to start and help finding resources.
So let’s take a walk through the process of getting help for a new autism diagnosis.
Today we’re gonna talk about a new autism diagnosis 2022 style.
Parents can get an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis from health care providers such as a psychologist or developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist, or pediatric neurologist.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum can request a free evaluation
If you do not have a medical diagnosis of autism yet, you will want to start here.
With your child’s autism spectrum diagnosis, you are probably confused and wondering what to expect and even what to do next.
Let’s start by talking about the early symptoms of autism.
An autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is not a definition or label of who your child is now.
In fact, nothing has changed between the moment they were diagnosed and all the days before.
A diagnosis serves a specific purpose which is to define your child’s group of symptoms and allow him to get help under that category.
Knowledge is power. Knowing the why of a situation allows your child to get the help he needs to move forward.
He does not have to be defined by a diagnoses.
Think of this stage as a way for doors to open for your child such as therapy, specialized education support and services he that he would not qualify for without the diagnosis.
Perhaps you have seen some or most of the American Psychiatric Association signs of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) as you have begun exploring an early childhood diagnosis.
The symptoms listed here are common symptoms parents and family members see early in a child’s life.
Your child may not have all of these symptoms and they may show up in varying degrees.
It’s important to remember that each child’s symptoms will be unique to them.
Your child will have significant impairments in several of these categories.
- repetitive patterns of behavior
- struggle with personal relationships
- masking (hiding) facial expressions
- repetitive behaviors
- hard time with nonverbal communicative behaviors
- social communication and body language
- persistent deficits in communication skills
- lack of eye contact
- lack of imaginative play
- developmental delays
- meltdowns in child’s behavior
- difficulty understanding others emotions and may require a social skills group
- hard time with sharing of interests
A note on Asperger’s disorder: Changes in the way we understand health happens very quickly.
The diagnosis of Aspberger’s has been used for a very long time to mean mild or high-functioning, but is now being phased out.
I want you to understand what the term means because the you are going to hear Aspberger’s still used by people and in older medical information that you read.
According to the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, autism diagnoses are divided by the level of support and the child’s ability to communicate and adapt to new situations.
Level 1: Requires Support
Issues having a 2 way conversation
Transitioning from 1 activity to another causes stress/anxiety
May try to make connections with other people, but effort could be awkward.
Level 2: Substantial Support
Will use simple communication
Poor non-verbal communication
These issues interfere with daily functioning
Level 3: Very Substantial Support
Limited ability to speak or interact
Will not start interacting with others. Others will need to interact with him
Will have strong reaction to change of any kind
Changing Support Levels
These levels can change throughout a lifetime. Education, relationships, stress and other factors can effect these levels. Also, a child may not neatly fit into one level described. That’s ok. These levels are a starting point to describe what types of symptoms your child is having.
Atypical autism is used to describe a child that has delays in speaking, communication, development and with relationships. They may be diagnosed later in life and don’t have enough symptoms for an autism spectrum diagnosis.
Who Is Qualified To Diagnose Autism?
An autism diagnosis often starts with the family doctor. Parents notice signs in their child that worry them and check these symptoms out with the pediatrician.
The pediatrician can refer your child to several different healthcare providers including:
- A child psychologist
- A child psychiatrist
- A developmental pediatrician
- A pediatric neurologist