Autism is a diagnosis that requires assessment through standardized testing measures, which are used by trained clinicians who have a background in administering specific autism evaluations. For example, Pediatricians use the MCHAT to screen for Autism. They then make a referral for a Psychological Assessment by a Psychologist who is trained in autism evaluations.
Initial signs, which may begin prior to age three, of an Autism Spectrum Disorder include lack eye contact, not responding to their name, and speech problems. Unfortunately, at times, Pediatricians ignore these signs as delays in development. Research has shown the best prognosis for Autism is early intervention. Therefore, it is important to persist and to request a referral or to independently seek a Psychological Evaluation.
Autism Spectrum Disorders are also diagnosed in school-aged children, adolescents, and adults. Symptoms may require further evaluation include obsessions with specific topics or preoccupations, rigidity, or playing with toys or objects in a repetitive manner. At times, antecedents such as, learning problems, social difficulties or emotional problems can also trigger the need for a Psychological Assessment.
If an Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed a discussion regarding treatment and recommendations can then help family’s provide assistance and seek resources. A deeper understanding of the symptoms helps provide relief to families and others involved in the person’s care.