Getting a Diagnosis
By Pathfinders for Autism Resource Center
There are no known medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the child’s communication, behavior, and developmental levels. However, because many of the behaviors associated with autism also occur with other disorders, a doctor may order a variety of medical and genetic tests to rule out other possible causes and identify co-existing conditions.
Locating a medical specialist or diagnostician who has experience with autism is most important. Diagnosis may be difficult for a practitioner with limited training or exposure to autism because the characteristics of the disorder vary so much. Ideally, diagnostic evaluation should be performed by a multidisciplinary team, which may include a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language pathologist, special educator or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.
An accurate diagnosis is essential for building appropriate and effective educational and treatment programs.