Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that can be incredibly difficult to diagnose. This is due to the fact that there is no definitive medical test that can identify ASD and diagnosis must be made based on an individual’s developmental history and behavioral observations.
The process of obtaining an autism diagnosis for a child can vary in length, from months to years for many families. Unfortunately, there are several barriers that exist which can prolong this process, such as obtaining a diagnosis, waiting lists, psychological assessments, insurance and payor requirements, transportation issues, and the ability to pay for these services. Early detection through timely intervention is key in order to achieve better outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that diagnosing ASD requires specialized training and should be done by an interdisciplinary team of experienced professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists or neurologists who are knowledgeable about autism and its associated behaviors. An initial evaluation may include physical exams including vision tests as well as hearing tests; developmental screenings; communication assessments; cognitive ability testing; social-emotional evaluations; behavior assessments; genetic testing or other laboratory tests; and parent interviews.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with ASD they will likely move forward with treatment plans which may include interventions such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Speech Language Pathology (SLP), Occupational Therapy (OT), social skills trainings , and more. Depending on the needs of the individual, these treatments are tailored to meet specific goals set between the team members involved in managing care.
It is important for families to understand that early detection along with intensive therapy interventions may improve outcomes for individuals with ASD. The CDC recommends talking with your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have regarding your child’s development so they can help ensure proper care is sought out in a timely manner.
The experienced concierge team at Lumen Pediatric Therapy is here to help! Our team helps guide families through the maze from diagnosis to therapy and provides all of the services your loved-one will need in an interdisciplinary center-based setting. Please call 888-485-8636 to get started.
Nicholle Mehr, MSA
Chief Operating Officer