Though parents and sometimes grandparents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviours in children, it might be a while before the family seeks a diagnosis. Well-meaning friends and relatives sometimes help parents ignore the problems with reassurances that ‘every child is different,’ or ‘she can talk but she just doesn’t want to!’, ‘boys tend to talk late’ or ‘I spoke late’. Unfortunately, these pacifying words only delay seeking help, resulting in delays in assessment and treatment for the child. Behaviour scientists are trying to bring down the age of first diagnosis to 18 months or younger. Early diagnosis is critical as research and our hands on experience proves that earlier the diagnosis, better the prognosis.
How to proceed with diagnosis
After initial identification, assessment by professionals who specialize in autism is necessary. Such specialists include people with the professional titles of child psychiatrist, child psychologist, developmental Paediatrician, or Paediatric neurologist.
Autism specialists use a variety of methods to identify the disorder. Using a standardized rating scale, the specialist closely observes and evaluates the child in a variety of settings to assess communication, play and social behaviour.
Please note that no matter when the child is diagnosed, it’s never too late to begin intervention.
Are there any specific investigations?
This again is an area of confusion among parents.
We emphasise that an accurate diagnosis can only be made by observing the child’s behaviour, communication, social interaction and developmental milestones along with a standard questionnaire answered by the parents.
There are no objective medical tests for diagnosing autism.[For example you can diagnose, qualify & quantify jaundice by testing the blood level of bilirubin. Such bio markers are yet to be identified in autism]. Please read again our chapter on Physical biomarkers……
Sometimes various investigations (such as EEG, metabolic screening, CT/MRI scans, BERA, etc) are asked for to rule out the possibility of other potential disorders.
However, it is advised not to place too much emphasis on these investigations and their outcome, as they are rarely conclusive; more over a sizeable money and precious time is lost in that process.
Methodology at DOAST
We request parents to first read our web page and learn about Autism …. understand autism and the importance or application of biomedical approach early ….. send an email to us early..…. Follow it up with the initial enquiry and confirmation of the diagnostic possibility …. Schedule an assessment date to make a quantitative and qualitative examination of the child to place in a correct platform …… general health evaluation……. and initiation into treatment ASAP…