Sunday, January 11, 2009

Diagnosing Autism: What Is Involved?

All children develop at different times – any child expert in the world will tell you that. However, if there are continual delays or issues which arise in a child’s development, doctors and parents may start to suspect that there is a condition causing these delays or issues. In the case of Autism, there are many different things which are considered and studied before the child is officially diagnosed with Autism.

The Beginning –

Typically, the parents of the child are concerned about one or multiple things having to do with a child’s development and they bring these issues up to the pediatrician. This will set off a chain of events which starts with the doctor performing certain basic tests or seeking information which will eventually lead to a diagnosis – whether it’s Autism or not. Some of the things the child’s doctor will check out include:

- Evaluating the friendships your child has and the quality of them.
- Determining the level of communication skills your child has.
- Investigating the child’s behavior regarding routine breaks or change and how it affects the child.
- The way your child pays attention and learns in school

There are so many other ways as well. Your doctor will most definitely obtain a lot of information from you as the parents. He or she will want to know a history of behavior with the child and what has changed or what is concerning you about the child’s behavior.

Examinations –

The child will most likely undergo a series of evaluations if the doctor feels that the problems require more research. For instance, all physical problems which could affect the child’s behavior will be ruled out. The child will also undergo a psychological evaluation to determine whether other issues or problems are present – such as depression, anxiety or something similar.

After a series of tests have been completed, the doctor will most likely have a brief meeting to discuss the results of those tests with the parents of the child. This is when the parents will find out whether or not they will get an official diagnosis of Autism for their child.

The Diagnosis –

The diagnosis (if it comes) will come after these tests and the results. Because many children develop at different stages, a parent’s concern about a child’s speech or behavior may actually be nothing to worry about. It’s not uncommon for a parent to be concerned, only to find out from the doctor that their child is perfectly normal and will develop when the body is ready.

However, if there are many different delays in behavioral or social skills which the child must learn – the doctor may diagnose the child as Autistic. He will then discuss the various avenues of treatment and action that can be taken from there.

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