Worry That They Will Find Something That Isnt Really There
This is a debate and concern across various fields of medicine;
Will extra testing mean that they will find something that isnt there? Is too much intervention bad? Are some things best left alone?
This is another concern that I had with my own children. Having been through the incredibly lengthy diagnosis process not once, but twice, I can safely say that I cannot see how this could ever happen.
The process is so incredibly detailed, that only highly trained professionals can administer the tests.
These doctors, educational psychologists and speech and language experts have to attend an additional 5-day course in how to administer, assess and score the assessment.
Its pretty intense.
It is my honest belief that there is no way in which a neurotypical child would ever be diagnosed with autism following an ADOS.
What Online Tests Can Tell You
Online screening tools can’t substitute for a full diagnostic team, but they can suggest that further testing and observation would be a good idea. They can also help provide a better understanding of the symptoms of autism. Use online tests to:
- Quickly get a clearer understanding of what autism symptoms look like
- Answer questions to help you determine whether there are red flags for autism
Of course, it’s perfectly possible to take a poorly constructed online quiz and find yourself worried unnecessarily. That’s why it’s best to select from one of the options listed in this article or research any other test carefully to ensure it’s been properly created.
Have An Autism Assessment
An autism assessment is where a team of autism specialists check if you or your child are autistic.
An assessment team may:
- ask about any problems you or your child are having
- watch how you or your child interact with other people
- speak to people who know you or your child well, such as family, friends, your GP or your child’s teachers
At the end of the assessment, you’ll be given a report saying if you or your child are autistic.
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Who Is This Childhood Asperger Syndrome Quiz For
Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among children with Asperger syndrome , a less severe form of autism spectrum disorder . Children or teenagers with Aspergers have difficulties relating to others socially and understanding social situations and subtle forms of communication like body language. This quiz is designed to be taken by parents who are concerned that their child might have Aspergers.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often your child has experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months. Please be aware that some behaviors are developmentally appropriate for young children and not signs of autism.
What Type Of Reports Or Recommendations Might I Expect
Upon assessment and feedback, your clinical psychologists will provide you with an assessment report that outlines the results of the assessment and provides a full and thorough list of recommendations to support you to address areas of concern. Recommendations are tailored to the individual and typically address any supports that may be required for the individual at home, school/work, and in the community.
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How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose children as autistic by observing them at play and interacting with others.
There are specific developmental milestones that most children reach by the time theyre 4 years old, such as having a conversation or telling a story.
If your 4-year-old has signs of autism, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more thorough examination. A specialist will observe your child while they play, learn, and communicate. Theyll also interview you about behaviors youve noticed at home and may request input from your childs teachers or other adults who interact with your child.
While the ideal age to diagnose and treat the symptoms of autism is 3 years old or younger, the sooner your child receives treatment, the better.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , all states and Washington, D. C., are required to provide an adequate education to school-age children with developmental issues. Contact your local school district to find out what resources are available for preschool-age children in your area.
Signs Of Speech And Language Difficulties
- Speaks in an atypical tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch .
- Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent.
- Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
- Uses language incorrectly or refers to him or herself in the third person.
- Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
- Doesnt understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.
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How To Help Your Child After An Autism Diagnosis
There are many things you can do to help a child with autism spectrum disorder. Start by ensuring their treatment plan is tailored according to their individual needs and work closely with the therapists, teachers and doctors involved to make sure you are following through with the therapy at home and school. It is also important to provide children with autism with a sense of structure in their lives. Create a detailed routine for your child and stick with it. You can also create consistency at home by reinforcing things the child may have learned in other settings and using positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
Repetitive Or Restrictive Behaviors
An autistic child who has adopted certain repetitive or restrictive behaviors may exhibit some of these signs:
- performs repetitive motions, such as flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or spinning
- persistently or repeatedly lines up toys or other objects in an organized fashion
- gets upset or frustrated by small changes in their daily routine
- has to follow certain routines
- plays with toys the same way every time
- likes certain parts of objects
- has obsessive interests
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How Is Aspergers Diagnosed In Children
Your pediatrician or a social worker should be able to recognize that your child has a developmental delay, says Eric Hollander, MD, director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. He or she will then most likely refer you to a specialist like a child psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental neuropsychologist for an evaluation that includes various diagnostic tests. The parent may be interviewed about early childhood symptoms, Dr. Hollander says.
Autism Diagnosis: What To Expect
Theres no single test for autism. Instead, autism diagnosis is based on:
- watching how your child plays and interacts with others that is, how your child is developing now
- interviewing you
- reviewing your childs developmental history that is, how your child has developed in the past.
Diagnosis usually involves many specialists and professionals assessing your child this is called a multidisciplinary assessment. When many specialists work with your child, it gives your child the best chance of an accurate diagnosis. It also helps to develop the best plan for supporting your child.
A multidisciplinary team usually includes a paediatrician, a psychologist, a speech pathologist and sometimes a child psychiatrist. It might also include other professionals, like an occupational therapist.
The professionals might want to see you and your child several times. Theyll ask you questions about your childs current and past development and behaviour. Theyll measure your childs strengths and difficulties in areas like thinking, moving, socialising, communicating and so on. And theyll ask about or watch how your child interacts and plays with others.
You might meet with all the professionals on the same day, in the same place. Or you might see one professional at a time for example, you might see a paediatrician first and then a speech pathologist or psychologist first at a later time.
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Working With An Autism Specialist
Screeners are often given by pediatricians, but if there are red flags that indicate further evaluation would be appropriate, it is best to work with someone who has both experience and expertise in diagnosing children on the autism spectrum. Youre not going to go to a doctor for a heart transplant whos done two or three, right? says Dr. Epstein. Its the same with autism. You want someone whos seen hundreds of kids with all different stripes typical children, intellectually disabled children, autistic children and knows what to look for. Academic and medical centers are often good places to find experienced diagnosticians.
Parents can ask some questions to try to gauge a potential providers experience. For example:
- Whats your training and experience?
- Have you had specific training in assessment of people on the spectrum? How much?
- What do you plan to do as part of this assessment?
- Will you be contacting my childs teacher or pediatrician?
Try to find a practitioner who is able to answer your questions readily and makes you feel comfortable.;A clinician who takes your concerns seriously and is experienced in assessing autism spectrum disorder is essential to getting an accurate diagnosis.
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What Will An Autism Assessment For My Child Involve
Depending on your childs needs, the health professionals you have been referred to will gather information about your childs medical and health history as well as the following:
- Developmental and educational history: you will be asked about your childs development over their lifetime, this may cover a wide range of developmental areas.
- Autism-specific signs and/or symptoms: you will be asked about behaviours relating to social communication and interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour.
- Other relevant behaviours, signs and/or symptoms: you will be asked to indicate whether your child has a co-occurring condition and/or differential diagnosis.
Often, health professional will use games, puzzles and activities to measure and observe your childs development.
Fast fact: The health professional may want to see you and your child together first, and then may spend some time one-on-one with your child.
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Make An Appointment With A Health Professional
If you think your child has autism, its good to act quickly and make an appointment with a professional. For example, you could talk to your child and family health nurse, your GP or a paediatrician.
Its a good idea to write down your concerns, including examples of what youve noticed and any concerns that your childs early childhood education service or school has raised. You can share this information with the health professional.
If the professional doesnt have any concerns about your child, but youre still worried, its OK to ask for a second, or even third, opinion from another professional.
You can monitor your childs social communication behaviour and interaction using the ASDetect app. It gives clear examples of what to expect in the early stages of your childs social and language development.
Can A Child Be Slightly Autistic
A child can be mildly autistic. Every child with autism spectrum disorder is unique and so symptoms may differ in severity and range between individuals. Children diagnosed as mildly autistic are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them, but they do have normal intelligence and can conduct their daily activities.
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Diagnosis In Young Children
Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.
Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups
Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.
Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the;Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.
Stage 2: Additional Evaluation
This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.
This team may include:
The evaluation may assess:
- Blood tests
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed
There are no laboratory tests to determine ASD. However, certain healthcare providers receive specific training and can do screenings and evaluations if needed and who might ask parents or teachers to record observations. These providers might include specialized physicians, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
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What To Do If Youre Worried
If your child is developmentally delayed, or if youve observed other red flags for autism, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician right away. In fact, its a good idea to have your child screened by a doctor even if he or she is hitting the developmental milestones on schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as specific screenings for autism at 9, 18, and 30 months of age.
Schedule an autism screening. A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for autism. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms. Your pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your childs behavior.
An Autism Evaluation Can Offer You Clarity And Direction
Having your child tested for ASD or any other developmental disorder can equip you with the strategies and resources needed to finally understand and overcome the challenges your child faces. Testing can also provide documentation of the need for school accommodations or special services and a targeted treatment plan that can actually create sustainable results. With a psychologist who specializes in ASD, we can offer you an evaluation that provides answers to your questions and relief from the uncertainty.
Well begin the evaluation process by inviting you and your child to my office for an intake meeting. We do this in order to begin building a rapport with your child and to let them familiarize themselves with the environment before we delve into testing. In order to design an evaluation that will answer all of your questions, Youll also be asked a series of questions identifying your concerns, as well as your childs strengths and weaknesses.
One tool that is often a part of the evaluation process is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Second Edition or ADOS-2. This assessment is considered the gold standard in testing for autism as it allows the examiner to observe the childs social interaction, communication, and play skills. Your childs evaluation will be comprehensive and will also include assessments in other areas such as cognitive skills, behavior, social skills, and self-help skills.;
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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
Difficulty In Getting Referred
People citing that its too difficult to get their child referred and assessed as a reason not to begin the process, are suffering from overwhelm.
I get it.
The whole thing is overwhelming.
All I can say is, long and daunting as the process may be, the sooner you get started, the sooner youll get somewhere.
If you are feeling the overwhelm, make the call, send the letter, sign the form. Do whatever it is that you have to do to take that first step. Maybe, if this is how you are feeling, you will take comfort in the fact that youll probably be waiting a while before the next stage anyway. Still, get it started. The sooner you start, the sooner youll get anywhere.
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If You Do Not Agree With The Result
When you get the report, you may:
- be told you or your child are not autistic
- be asked to wait until your child is a bit older to be assessed again, as the signs of autism may not be clear
- be given a diagnosis you do not agree with, such as a learning disability
Ask the assessment team why they have given the diagnosis they have.
If you still do not agree, you can ask the GP to refer you to another team for a second opinion.
Remember that a second opinion may say the same thing.