Where Can I Get My Child Evaluated for Autism?

August 8, 2023 | Uncategorized

If you suspect that your child may be showing signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), seeking an official diagnosis is a crucial step in providing them with the support and resources they need. An early diagnosis can lead to timely interventions and therapies, greatly improving your child’s developmental outcomes.

Why Get Your Child Evaluated for Autism

Obtaining an official autism diagnosis for your child is essential for several reasons. It provides a clear understanding of your child’s unique needs and challenges, empowering you to make informed decisions regarding treatment and educational strategies. An autism diagnosis also enables access to specialized services and resources.

Many support systems, educational programs, and therapeutic interventions are specifically designed to cater to individuals on the autism spectrum. With a formal diagnosis, you can better access these valuable resources. Additionally, an official diagnosis facilitates eligibility for governmental assistance and disability benefits. These benefits can significantly alleviate the financial burden associated with seeking appropriate therapies for your child’s developmental needs.

How is Autism Diagnosed?

Autism diagnosis involves a comprehensive evaluation process conducted by healthcare professionals, psychologists, or developmental specialists. The evaluation usually consists of two primary approaches: developmental monitoring and developmental screening.

Developmental Monitoring

Developmental monitoring involves the regular tracking of a child’s growth and milestones by parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers. By closely observing a child’s development, any potential delays or autism-related behaviors can be detected early on. This proactive approach helps identify when a formal evaluation may be needed.

Developmental Screening

Developmental screening is a more structured and formal process used to identify children who may be at risk of developmental delays or disorders. During the screening, specific milestones and behaviors are assessed, and questionnaires are completed to determine if autism is present.

Where Can I Get My Child Evaluated for Autism?

Seeking an official diagnosis of autism is an essential step in understanding and supporting your child’s needs. If you suspect your child may be exhibiting signs of autism, there are several avenues to get them evaluated. Autism evaluations can be covered by insurance, so be sure to check with your provider to determine if a referral is needed for the following evaluators.

Pediatrician or Family Doctor

Start by discussing your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor. They can conduct preliminary screenings and refer you to specialists if needed.

Developmental Pediatrician

A developmental pediatrician specializes in diagnosing and treating developmental and behavioral challenges in children. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation for autism and other related conditions.

Child Psychologist or Psychiatrist

Child psychologists and psychiatrists are experienced in assessing developmental and psychological disorders, including autism. They conduct in-depth assessments to provide an accurate diagnosis. They are also able to diagnose any co-occurring disorders like ADHD.

Autism Clinics

Many specialized autism centers and clinics offer comprehensive evaluations for autism. These facilities often have multidisciplinary teams of experts, including psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), occupational therapists, and mental health counselors.

Early Intervention Centers

If your child is below the age of three, early intervention programs, like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, in your area can conduct screenings and provide support for developmental delays or concerns with an official diagnosis.