If you are wondering if your child has autism, there are some steps you can take to find out. For children with autism, the earlier it is recognized and treated, the better. If you are worried your child may be affected by autism, delaying in having your child evaluated could prevent her from gaining access to the resources she needs. Children who get the proper assistance from the earliest age can gain skills to lead a successful life.
Become familiar with developmental milestones in children. If you are aware of where your child should be developmentally based on his age, you will be able to recognize if there are areas where he is not developmentally on track.
Trust your instincts. Don’t assume that your child is simply lagging behind and will catch up. If your instinct tells you something is wrong, trust it, advises Easter Seals.
Use the CHAT screening tool. The CHecklist for Autism in Toddlers is a screening tool that can help identify autism in children as young as 18 months, according to FirstStepsForKids.com. While many pediatricians give all of their patients’ parents this screening tool, if yours doesn’t, you can access it on the First Steps website.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician. If you are concerned your child may have autism, schedule an appointment with your child’s primary care provider.
Ask for a referral to someone who specializes in autism screening. While there is no single test that can determine if your child has autism, a trained clinician will look for symptoms and behaviors associated with autism that are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Your child’s social interaction, communication and behavior and interests will be considered when determining if your child is affected by autism.