Testing for Autism
Autism is a “spectrum disorder” that affects every individual in a different way to varying degrees. The cause of autism is relatively unknown, however increased awareness can be crucial in diagnosing and maintaining autism.
Early Signs of Autism
It is important to know the red flags doctors look for that indicate a need for Autism testing. The following characteristics are considered to be early signs and symptoms of autism:
• No smiling or signs of joy by six months of age
• No babbling, pointing or using other gestures by 12 months
• No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
• Not using words by 16 months
• Not using two word phrases by 24 months
• Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
Testing for Autism
Doctors will first make clinical observations and chart developmental milestones, they will then conduct routine screenings. If red flags are seen a psychologist, a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist will administer an autism screening. Depending on the age of your child different checklists and questionnaires will be referred to. If screenings show positive signs of autism, the practitioner will then begin ruling out other disorders to ensure a diagnosis of autism.
Because autism cannot be diagnosed with a medical test screenings involve many interviews, observations and evaluations. This process can lead to frustration, especially if the child shows some but not all the early signs of autism. Despite this aggravation testing early for autism is extremely important, and can greatly improve your child’s quality of life.
For more information on Autism testing and treatment visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Click here for more information on Autism
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