Guide to an Autism Diagnosis


Guide To An Autism Diagnosis

December 7, 2021

By ABA Psychological Services

What does BCBA stand for?

Determining how to get diagnosed with autism is not always easy for those seeking help with a disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a highly complex disorder that appears in early childhood development. Often referred to as autism, the ASD designation now includes Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Before 2013, these subcategories were considered separate disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) now places all subcategories of autism into one diagnosis. This benefits families and caregivers in receiving better access to care, treatments, and services.

ASD is considered a lifelong developmental disorder. Symptoms generally appear before the age of three. Presentation of ASD in individuals varies greatly from child to child. ASD can affect motor skills, physical health, intellectual abilities, attention and sensory processing (how the brain responds to sensory input), and many other areas. ASD can affect multiple areas or a few.

In general, children with ASD have trouble with communication. They find it hard to understand what people think or feel. It can be hard for children with ASD to express themselves and learning problems may arise, or skills may develop unevenly.

There is no known cause or cure for ASD. People are diagnosed with autism from all over the world, in every ethnic and socioeconomic group and intelligence level. Research does show that ASD most likely begins during early brain development when symptoms cannot be observed.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Each type of autistic disorder is no longer diagnosed as a separate condition. They are all part of a range that is included in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Each individual diagnosed with Autism has a different skill sets, strengths and needs, think of a color wheel. One individual may need more support in communication but less support in managing challenging behaviors, while another individual may be sensory seeking while others are sensory defensive.

Related Signs and Symptoms
No two individuals with autism are alike. Even twins with autism can have completely different strengths and challenges. If you are at all concerned with your child’s development reach out immediately to your pediatrician or other clinicians who are familiar with autism.

Autism symptoms can appear at birth but are usually present before a child turns three. We don’t know the cause of ASD, but research is providing some risk factors. These include:
• A sibling with ASD.
• Older parents.
• Very low birth weight.
• Additional genetic conditions such as Down syndrome and Rett syndrome.

Common symptoms of autism include:
• A lack of eye contact.
• Not responding when people are talking to them.
• A narrow range of interests or intense interest in certain topics.
• Repetitive motions, repeating words or phrases, rocking back and forth, or flapping hands.
• High sensitivity to ordinary sounds, touches, smells, or sights.
• Not looking when a person points to things.
• Not wanting to be touched, held, or cuddled.
• Problems understanding or using speech, gestures, tone of voice, or facial expressions.
• Talking in a sing-song, monotone, or robotic voice.
• Trouble adapting to change.
• Some children with autism may also have seizures.

How to Get Diagnosed with Autism?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism with boys being diagnosed more often than in girls. Diagnosis of ASD can be done at early childhood, as early as 18 months or younger. The earlier a diagnosis the better. Early intervention may reduce challenging behavior and can give children a better long-term outlook.

Once your child has gone through testing by a team of professionals, which may include a psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, pathologist, and developmental pediatrician, a diagnosis may be finally given.

How to Get Tested for Autism?
Currently, there is no official or medical test for autism. If a parent notices signs of ASD it is important to talk with the primary doctor. A doctor will ask if they have passed specific milestones such as cooing and smiling. They’ll ask about family history and development. Your responses are important in how your child will be tested further for autism.

How to Diagnose Autism in Adults?
If you think you (or a loved one) may have ASD as an adult, ask your healthcare provider to recommend a psychiatrist who regularly works with people with autism. Only trained professionals should test for autism or deliver a diagnosis. Developmental pediatricians, child psychologists, and neurologists may evaluate and diagnose adults with autism.

How ABA Psychological Services Can Help
At ABA Psychological Services, P.C. we’re committed to providing the highest-quality ABA therapy to children and adults with autism. Based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) we provide one-on-one therapy, parent training, and social skills groups. Our services can be held in the home, community settings, or our office.

Our approach to autism therapy is designed to decrease problem behaviors and teach new skills. We focus on supporting children and adults with autism to reach their full potential with highly individualized and research-based care plans. Our team of caring professionals consists of Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), Licensed Behavior Analysts (LBA), and ABA paraprofessionals.

To learn more about our expert ABA techniques, and our commitment to people of all ages with autism contact us today.

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