If you suspect that your child may have autism, you likely have many questions, and it is not always easy to know what your next steps are in the process of how to diagnose autism. For example, who can diagnose autism in children? If you are a parent and have noticed some warning signs of autism, a good first step to take is using the M-CHAT, or Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers. This checklist is scientifically proven to help detect autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children who are between 16 and 30 months old. This checklist asks about pivotal developmental skills, including communication, which are typically delayed in children with autism.
Throughout early childhood development, children should also be tested by their pediatrician for developmental milestones (from birth to approximately three years of age). These regular screenings will help parents and pediatricians to determine whether they believe there is a risk for autism.
Diagnosing autism is different than diagnosing an illness, as it is not a quick test with a simple prescription to fix the symptoms. In the case of autism, there is a multidisciplinary team working to provide treatment and therapy, and there is neither a known cause nor a perfect cure.
Professionals who can diagnose autism
There are different types of professionals who can provide a diagnosis of autism, including behavioral pediatricians, clinical psychologists, or neurologists. Children will often receive treatment from a multidisciplinary team, in order to receive the most comprehensive care possible. This also allows for collaboration between teams to provide a complete picture of the disorder. To diagnose autism, professionals will use criteria from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual-5.
When should we receive the diagnosis?
Extensive research has shown the benefit of early intervention for children with autism, meaning the sooner the better for a diagnosis. Ideally, a child will receive a diagnosis of autism before the age of three. This will allow for the greatest chance of improving through early intervention, and before behaviors have become engrained. The earliest that autism can usually be detected in a young child, however, is approximately 18 months. However a diagnosis at 24 months is typically more reliable. While some children will exhibit prominent signs of autism at this early age, this is not the case for all children. In some cases, children will not receive the diagnosis of autism until later in their development.
Do you believe your child with autism could benefit from ABA therapy in Chicago?
Chicago ABA Therapy provides a wide range of services for children on the spectrum including ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and a therapeutic preschool program. Contact us today by calling 773-630-4400 to learn more about pediatic ABA therapy in Chicago!