Steps On How To Get Tested For Autism
Despite the increased awareness around Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the steps on how to get tested for autism can still be pretty complicated. This is because there are no specific medical tests for this disorder.
You can’t take a blood test or a brain scan to diagnose autism. Instead, the doctor has to look at a person’s behavior as well as their development history to make a reliable diagnosis.
Steps On How To Get Tested For Autism
Before we learn about the steps of getting testing for autism, it is important to understand what the ideal time for the test is.
In some cases, ASD can be detected before a child turns 18-month-old. An experienced professional can make a reliable diagnosis by the time the child turns 2. However, most parents aren’t aware of the signs to look for, which can cause the symptoms to go unnoticed. This is why most children don’t get a final diagnosis until they are much older. In fact, some people may not be diagnosed until their adolescent or adult years.
As a result, they become deprived of the adequate treatment required to manage the condition and reach their full potential. This is why it is necessary for all parents to be aware of the symptoms of ASD, as this allows their child to receive the required support and treatment.
· Developmental Monitoring
Every parent or provider must be aware of the concept of developmental monitoring, as it enables them to recognize the early signs of ASD. This means that they should observe how a child is growing and whether they are meeting the typical development milestones that most children reach by certain ages, such as learning, moving, speaking, playing, behaving, and other similar skills.
For this purpose, it is important to encourage healthy communication between the child and their parent or provider. If you are responsible for a child but aren’t sure about the respective milestones, here is a brief checklist that will prove to be helpful. If you feel your child is falling behind, it may be beneficial to visit a professional.
· Developmental Screening
When you take your child to a professional for developmental monitoring, the doctor will inquire about your child’s development history, as well as any family history of ASD, intellectual disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or any learning disorders. The doctor will also talk and play with your child to get a better idea of their development stage.
If there is a chance that the child is on the spectrum, the doctor will then do a developmental screening to take an even closer look at the child’s mental and physical development. This process tends to be more formal than developmental monitoring and may even be a part of a child's regular visits to the doctor.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), development and behavioral screenings should be performed on all children at the ages of:
Additionally, it is recommended that all children be specifically screened for ASD at the ages of:
These screenings consist of checklists and questionnaires to evaluate the child’s movement, language, behaviors, emotions, and thinking skills. As a parent or guardian, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire about the child as part of the screening process.
· Development Diagnosis
It is important to understand that the screening process does not provide a definitive diagnosis. As discussed earlier, there is no specific medical test that can diagnose ASD. However, a brief diagnosis performed using the screening method evaluates if the child is on the right development track. If not, a specialist is asked to take a closer look.
Previously, conditions such as autistic disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) were diagnosed separately. However, they are now included in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for a more accurate diagnosis.
If the formal evaluation indicates that your child is on the spectrum, a trained specialist such as a child psychologist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, development pediatrician, or other similar specialists will step in to provide a structured examination. Afterward, they will guide you about the best course of treatment to help your child manage the condition.
Being Diagnosed for Autism as An Adult
The symptoms of autism can sometimes hide in plain sight. This is why it is possible for someone to go their entire life without getting a proper diagnosis. However, even if you’re a fully-grown adult by the time you or someone else noticed signs of autism, you can still get the necessary guidance and treatment for your conditions.
The steps on how to get tested for autism as an adult are more or less the same as they are for children. However, it can be slightly difficult for an adult to bring themselves to visit a specialist, especially since they’ve gone all their lives being unaware of the condition. That being said, it is necessary to get a diagnosis and seek help at any stage of life, as it can significantly improve the quality of your life.
You will have to look for an adult psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in ASD to get a reliable diagnosis. You can find a specialist near you by:
Performing an online medical directory look-up.
Asking your insurance provider.
Asking for a referral from your family doctor.
Asking trustable autism organizations in your locality.
Doing an internet search (make sure to do thorough research if you’re relying on the internet).
With proper diagnosis, Autism is a manageable condition. Therefore, it is necessary to perform the required evaluation to ensure that proper treatment is received. If you’re looking for a specialist for your child or yourself, please consider visiting Accel Therapies today.