Should Children With Autism See A Pediatric Neurologist
If your child has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, then youve probably already seen or been referred to many medical specialists. One these specialists may be a pediatric neurologist. But what does neurology have to do with autism? There are a few different ways that a pediatric neurologist can help aid in your childs autism treatment.
Who Should Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorders
It seems that everyone, including the lady at the grocery store, can spot autism when they see it. But of course, it’s not that simple. Autism is not just a collection of personality traits and personal interests, and not everyone who prefers solitude and comic books is autistic. In fact, autism is a serious developmental disability, and diagnosis requires testing, evaluation, and an in-depth understanding of the disorder.
What Test Can Confirm A Diagnosis Of Autism
Although autism is considered a neurological disability, no specific medical test or procedure can confirm a diagnosis of autism. To gather more information that will accurately profile an individuals strengths and needs, a variety of tests, assessments, and evaluations should be administered.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
Finding The Right Person To Diagnose Autism
The right person or group to diagnose your child will be trained, experienced, affordable and available in your area. To find that person :
- Start with your own pediatrician. He or she may have a terrific list of names, and may even be able to help you get an appointment quickly.
- Connect with other parents. Local support groups and listserves are wonderful resources for information about professionals who are both competent and supportive.
- Check with your school district and/or regional agencies. You may find there are low-cost or free options available to you.
- Surf the web. If you live outside a major city, you may find terrific resources that your suburban sources know nothing about.
- Do your homework. Check on the recommended specialists to be sure that they really have the credentials and experience you want.
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Screening And Diagnosis Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be difficult because there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder. Doctors look at the childs developmental history and behavior to make a diagnosis.
ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable . However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adolescents or adults. This delay means that children with ASD might not get the early help they need.
Early signs of ASD can include, but are not limited to
- Avoiding eye contact,
- Having little interest in other children or caretakers,
- Limited display of language , or
- Getting upset by minor changes in routine.
CDCs Learn the Signs. Act Early. program provides free resources to help families monitor developmental milestones and recognize signs of developmental concerns, including ASD.
As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, they might have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected in school or on the job. They may also come to the attention of healthcare providers because they have co-occurring conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression, or conduct disorder.
What To Do If Your Child Is Diagnosed
If your child receives an autism diagnosis, you might feel overwhelmed and have many questions racing through your mind: Will my child be OK? How will we cope? What does this mean for their future? Where do I even start?
Talk with your pediatrician about services that are available to help autistic kids develop and sharpen their communication, social, motor, and academic skills.
The key is to get educated, find support as early as possible, and have compassion not just for your child but also for yourself.
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Diagnosis And Treatment Of Autism In Adults
Unfortunately, there are no blood or lab tests that can diagnose ASD, and very few healthcare professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating adults with autism. If you think you may have ASD, ask your healthcare provider to recommend a who regularly works with people with autism. Some developmental pediatricians, child psychologists and pediatric neurologists will also evaluate adults. Or, contact an autism treatment center and ask for a referral. Autism Speaks maintains a list of hospitals and physicians who diagnose and treat ASD.
Healthcare providers use direct observation and reports from patients and family members to diagnose autism. During your appointment, the healthcare provider will observe your body language and tone of voice. He or she will ask you questions about your experiences in school, at work, and at home.
You may be diagnosed with ASD as an adult if:
Youve had persistent problems with communication and socialization.
Your symptoms began in childhood .
Your symptoms cause difficulty in your life.
What Type Of Doctor Should I See To Get A Comprehensive Evaluation Of Autism
Dr. Loveland answers the question: ‘What Type of Doctor Evaluates Autism?’
Oct. 23, 2008 — Question: What type of doctor should I see to get a comprehensive evaluation of autism?
Answer: A diagnosis of autism could be given by a psychologist, a child psychiatrist, a developmental pediatrician or a child neurologist. All of these professionals are qualified to give this diagnosis if they have received training in this area. However, it’s also a good idea to get a broader, more comprehensive evaluation including speech and language, hearing, and physical and motor development as well as IQ or intellectual development.
The professional who gives the diagnosis of autism should be able to refer you to the appropriate professionals to provide these additional evaluations.
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What Are The Responsibilities Of A School Psychologist
School psychologists serve a variety of functions in the school setting. They work with students who are struggling academically by employing psychological and educational techniques to improve their performance. They design intervention programs that seek to help students get back on track, evaluate students for special services, and review testing data.
In elementary and secondary schools, school psychologists also offer therapeutic services to children with mental, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. School psychologists are also qualified to diagnose mental disorders.
Another important function of school psychologists is to consult with teachers, administrators, parents, and other stakeholders regarding a childs behavior, academic achievement, or other important issues that pertain to his or her schooling. School psychologists work with families to teach them strategies to address a host of issues, from managing a childs behavior to helping their child improve their social skills.
Consultations about academic performance are also a central role of a school psychologist, and often involve working with individual teachers to improve the delivery of information, design lessons, and identify strategies for improving student achievement.
Autism Assessment Tips For School Psychologists: A Coffee Chat With Dr Bryna Siegel
School psychologists are in the important position of being navigators for parents of children with Autism when they need it the most. When parents have questions after an initial diagnosis, we can be there for them. When they have questions about their educational options as their child grows, school psychologists have a golden opportunity to help them understand and make important decisions about their childs education.
As school psychologists, we know first hand that the assessment and intervention with students on the Autism Spectrum can be complex. Given that we have the responsibility of partnering with parents in the process, we need to be on the cutting edge of research-informed best practices.
Because the needs of students on the Autism Spectrum can be complex, it is essential that we are consulting with our school psychologist peers and experts in the field to make sure we are on the cutting edge of best practices and research-informed decision making for supporting students with Autism.
In the Thriving School Psychologist Collective online course and professional learning community for school psychologists, we work together to create resources on topics that are important to school psychologists. One theme that came up in this past school year among participants in the TSP Collective was a desire for more information about assessment best practices for students suspected of being on the Autism Spectrum.
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What Role Do Genes Play
Twin and family studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Identical twin studies show that if one twin is affected, then the other will be affected between 36 to 95 percent of the time. There are a number of studies in progress to determine the specific genetic factors associated with the development of ASD. In families with one child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with the disorder also increases. Many of the genes found to be associated with autism are involved in the function of the chemical connections between brain neurons . Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to increased susceptibility. In some cases, parents and other relatives of a child with ASD show mild impairments in social communication skills or engage in repetitive behaviors. Evidence also suggests that emotional disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia occur more frequently than average in the families of people with ASD.
Pediatric Neurologist Deepa Menon Answers Common Questions
To help educate patients and families, Dr. Deepa U. Menon answered questions from the Interactive Autism Network about the role of neurologists in treating children and youth with autism. Dr. Menon is assistant professor of Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Medicine, and assistant medical director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Her research interests include metabolic and mitochondrial disorders associated with autism, regression in autism, and early identification and treatment of autism and communication disorders.
IAN: When should the parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder consider taking him or her to a neurologist?
Dr. Menon: Child neurologists specialize in identifying and treating disorders of the nervous system and brain. Parents may consider consulting a neurologist if they notice:
Other reasons that someone might see a neurologist are a history of prematurity, a concern that the child has a large head or a small head, or anything that makes you think there’s a medical cause for the child’s autism, such as a mitochondrial disorder.
IAN: Are seizures more common in people with autism?
Dr. Menon: Seizures are slightly more common in children with autism than in the typically-developing population. In the general population, the incidence of seizures is 1 to 5 percent. In autism the chances of having seizures are 10 to 20 percent.
IAN: What are the types of tests a neurologist might perform?
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Lack Of Imagination And Behavioural Or Cognitive Inflexibility Often Leading To Restricted And Repetitive Behaviours And Interests
It is spectrum disorder because its presentation varies widely between individuals with autism and it can range from severe to mild. At one end will be children and young people also adults who have severe impairments of social behaviour, communication and intellectual/cognitive functioning. At the other end are individuals of average or higher intelligence, known as high functioning autism . Individuals who have Asperger Syndrome are also at the higher end of the spectrum.
Who Is Able To Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder
There are a number of professionals who can diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder . Each type of professional has different training. It is important to choose a professional who has extensive experience in diagnosing individuals with ASD and other conditions which may appear similar to ASD at first glance. Being able to distinguish between ASD and another condition is called making a differential diagnosis.
A Developmental Pediatrician is a pediatrician who has advanced training in developmental-behavioral medicine. Developmental Pediatricians evaluate, counsel, and provide treatment for children, adolescents, and their families with a wide range of developmental and behavioral difficulties, including ASD.
A Pediatric Neurologist is a pediatrician who has advanced training in pediatric neurology. Child neurologists treat children from birth into young adulthood and often diagnose, treat, and manage neurological conditions, including ASD.
A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling, and/or behavior, which affect children, adolescents, and their families. Many do have specializations that include diagnosing ASD.
Who Can Diagnose Autism
Check the educational laws in your state. In the state I used to live in, had to have a dx from a medical professional. Where I live now , a child can be classified with an “educational autism” Dx by the school team even if no medical dx present, which allows autism services in the schools. Not sure what the laws are in other states.
one of the following can give an official medical diagnosis: Developmental Pediatrician, Pediatric Neurologist, Child Psychiatrist.
You will also get an “educational” assessment from a school district and/or Early Intervention program.
I spoke to a Pediatric Neurologist yesterday who said she is too young for their test.
PS- my son is not yet 3 and just got a medical diagnosis from a Pediatric Neurologist…what test is she “too young for”? There was only a week’s wait to see him.
We’ve been on a waiting list for a developmental pediatrician for over 4 months now and I’m getting impatient. Now that my daughter’s teacher has brought it up I’m feeling a sense of urgency.
Thank you for the suggestion.
Pediatrician, developmental pediatrian, and pediatric neurologist here – all confirming pediatrian’s initial evaluation.
School has also done their assessment, and he classified under educational autism.
I just don’t know if I need a child psychiatrist for this, or just a pediatrician, or something else. I am at a loss and I’m hoping to benefit from someone’s experience.
How Is Asd Diagnosed In Children And Teens
Many peopleincluding pediatricians, family doctors, teachers, and parentsmay minimize signs of ASD at first, believing that children will catch up with their peers. While you may be concerned about labeling your young child with a diagnosis, the earlier autism is diagnosed, the sooner specific interventions may begin and the sooner your child may qualify for medical or educational services.
Early intervention can reduce or prevent the more severe disabilities associated with ASD. Early intervention may also improve your childs language and everyday functional skills, also called adaptive behavior.
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A Psychiatrist Diagnosed Me As Autistic With Adhd Now Finally I Can Thrive
Getting an official diagnosis as an adult is hard but this year I got to know what being female and neurodivergent means
Far from feeling deprived when the world went into lockdown this year, I thrived. After a difficult start to 2020 grappling with health issues, I felt incapable of doing anything Id planned, no matter how much I wanted to see my friends, work or travel. It ran deeper than exhaustion: during my entire life I had struggled with things that other people seemed to find easy, like socialising, employment, education or feeling comfortable in my own body. I often found myself overwhelmed, struggling to connect with people and suffering with sensory overload when faced with certain lights, smells, sounds or textures. I needed more time alone than other people to recover from being in the world, and selfishly, lockdown felt like a blessing.
I had been made aware of my differences throughout my life, fighting episodes of burnout and self-destruction, chastising myself for my inability to connect with strangers or just feel remotely relaxed. I was always restless, oscillating between distraction and hyper-focus on the wrong things. I found it increasingly difficult to function, but it wasnt until 2015 that I decided to pursue the answer that some teachers, family members and peers had suggested: a joint diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
Who Can Diagnose Ld And/or Adhd
Many professionals are involved in the diagnosis of LD. They include psychologists, educational specialists, and other professionals who work in specialized fields such as speech and language. This table explains the role of some of the professionals who provide services. Recall that many of these professionals can suspect LD and/or ADHD but all are not licensed, or have the needed certifications to diagnose the disorders. It is always important to ask the professional about his/her credentials. When you go to a person in a private practice, not in the school system, it is important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD and/or ADHD.
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