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At your child’s wellness check-up, your family pediatrician should do a routine screening to see if your child is meeting certain developmental milestones. Your doctor will ask you specific questions about your child’s progress, and it’s important that you voice all your observations, including any concerns or problem behavior. Be honest. Your doctor isn’t there to judge you. He just wants to spot potential problems as soon as possible so your child can get help if he or she needs it.
If you or your pediatrician suspects autism, have your child evaluated by someone who specializes in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. This can be done by a developmental pediatrician, child neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist or other health professional whose job it is to assess specific areas of your child’s development.
Though any specialist you see should be experienced in diagnosing autism, each will have a different area of expertise. Here are some professionals who may be involved in the diagnosis of your child:
Some diagnostic programs use a multi-disciplinary team that may include learning specialists, speech, occupational and physical therapists. Though these professionals aren’t trained to diagnose children, they may offer valuable information about your child’s development and behavior.
Have your pediatrician recommend specialists in your area, or find them through your local hospital, school district or support group. Other parents are a great resource, and many ASD support groups and networks post a list of recommended health professionals on their website.
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