How is Autism Diagnosed?

Before one can properly diagnose autism, it is important to know just what it is.  Autism spectrum disorder is generally characterized by the inabilities for social and communication restrictions along with repetitive or stereotyped manners of behaviors. There are varying degrees of autism, such as mild to severe, and it is a detrimental childhood disintegrative disorder which makes everyday life difficult for the afflicted individual. Autism is not partial to one nationality, and affects all age groups and ethnic backgrounds. 6 out of every 1000 children will be diagnosed with autism, and boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls are.

Parents are able to identify signs of autism as early as times of infancy with a child. Whether it is the strong focus on one item for long or extensive periods of time, or the avoidance of other items, this is a key sign in infants. The normal development of a child may occur in some areas and then a withdrawal or indifference in regard to social engagement might happen. Movements such as rocking, twirling or even self-abusive behaviors such as head banging or pulling hear out may occur in children with autism. If a child is experiencing any symptoms such as these it is highly important for the parent to seek out a medical diagnosis as soon as possible.

There is a vast variety of ways to diagnose autism in children and adults alike. Because the severity ranges so differently with each individual identifying the signs and symptoms may be difficult at first, especially in mild or highly functional cases. Experts are able to indicate very early on whether or not a child has autism.

First, a child that has no babbling or pointing by the age of one year old is a slightly good indicator, followed up by absolutely no single word usage by 16 months and two word phrases by the age of 2. In line with this, if a child does not respond to their name or has less than amiable eye contact it is a strong sign. Infants and toddlers that have diminished social responses along with no smiling or language usage generally have some form of autistic behavior.

There are indicators later on in life that are ways to diagnose autism. Having a hindered ability to make friends with peers and even family members a child sees often. If there is the ability to make friends, then the inability to initiate or keep a conversation moving for lengthy periods of time is another indicator of autism.

Along with questionnaires about a child’s behavior and observation by physicians, parents, and even teachers, a comprehensive evaluation using a multidisciplinary team including neurologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, and other experts will be used to properly conclude whether or not a child has autism.

Monitoring ones child and identifying signs early on will allow the parent to seek out the most appropriate treatment, and aid the child in leading the most normal life possible.