Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families can greatly benefit from an early diagnosis.
But determining an ASD diagnosis is not always simple. Doctors must instead rely on monitoring the actions of very young children and listening to the worries of their parents because there is no scientific test for it.
ASD symptoms can be highly varied. Some individuals who are “on the spectrum” suffer from severe mental impairments. Some people are quite smart and capable of living on their own.
The first step in the two-stage process to diagnose your child with autism, no matter where they are on the spectrum, is to take them to the pediatrician.
Who Has A Higher Likelihood Of Receiving An Autism Diagnosis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2016, there were around 1 in 54 trusted Source children in the United States who had ASD. All racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups are affected by autism spectrum disorder.
It was believed that guys were four times more likely than girls to experience it. Recent studies, however, suggest that because girls with ASD frequently exhibit differently from boys, they may go undiagnosed.
Due to what is known as the “camouflage effectTrusted Source,” girls often conceal their symptoms. As a result, ASD may affect girls more frequently than previously believed.
Although we know genes play a role, there is currently no recognized treatment for ASD, and researchers are still trying to determine its exact etiology. Numerous members of the autism community do not think a cure is required.
A kid may be more prone to ASD for a variety of reasons, including environmental, biochemical, and genetic variables.
In What Way Autism Is Diagnosed?
Typically, doctors identify ASD in young children. However, autism spectrum disorder can occasionally be challenging to diagnose due to the wide variation in symptoms and severity.
Some people aren’t diagnosed till they are adults.
There isn’t a single recognized test available to diagnose autism at the moment. Early signs of ASD in a young kid may be seen by a parent or clinician, though a diagnosis would need to be validated.
A team of doctors and experts will often make an official diagnosis of ASD if the symptoms support it. A developmental pediatrician, neurologist, psychologist or neuropsychologist, neurologist, and/or psychiatrist may be involved in this.
Genetic Analysis (Autism Diagnosis):
Genetic tests cannot identify or diagnose autism, despite the fact that it is recognized to be a genetic disorder. ASD can be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors.
Some of the biomarkers thought to be signs of ASD can be tested for in some labs. Though just a small percentage of people will find helpful solutions, they search for the most prevalent genetic components that are currently known.
If one of these genetic tests yields an unusual result, genetics most likely played a role in the development of ASD.
A typical outcome simply indicates that a particular genetic contribution has been excluded and that the underlying cause is still unclear.
A Developmental Check (Autism Diagnosis):
During routine and frequent visits, your doctor will check on your child’s development beginning at birth.
In addition to regular developmental monitoring, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests standardized autism-specific screening exams at 18 and 24 months of age.
In particular, if a sibling or other family member has ASD, your doctor may recommend a specialist if you have concerns about your child’s development.
If there is a physical explanation for the observed behaviors, the specialist will run tests such as hearing tests to check for deafness or difficulties hearing.
They’ll also employ other autism screening techniques, such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT).
Parents fill out the new screening instrument known as the checklist. It assists in determining whether a youngster has a low, medium, or high risk of having autism. There are 20 questions in the test, which is free.
Your child will have a more thorough diagnostic evaluation if the test results show that they have a high likelihood of having ASD.
If your child has a medium likelihood, further inquiries may be required to properly categorize the results with certainty.
Behavioural Assessment (Autism Diagnosis):
A thorough physical and neurologic examination is the next stage in the diagnosis of autism. There may be a group of experts needed for this. The specialists could be:
- child development specialists
- psychologists for kids
- pediatric neurologists
- occupational therapists
- speech-language pathologists
Screening tools might also be used in the evaluation. There are numerous options for developmental screening. Autism cannot be diagnosed with one tool. Instead, a variety of tools must be used in combination to make an autism diagnosis.
A few instances of screening instruments are:
- Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ)
- Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ)
- Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
- Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)
- Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
- Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) new edition contains standardized criteria to aid in the diagnosis of ASD, according to the CDC Trusted Source.