Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 59 children. ASD covers a range of conditions that doctors used to believe were different, including autism and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-DOS). If you are worried that your child may have autism, figuring out the next steps may seem overwhelming.
Early symptoms of autism that parents often notice are speech delays, not responding to their name, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests. That said, no two children with autism will have the same symptoms. You may notice some of these symptoms or none at all. However, if you are questioning whether your child is autistic, that is reason enough to bring it to the attention of your child’s doctor.
No matter where your thought process is, if you think your child may be autistic, then it is time to take some first steps. The sooner your child receives a diagnosis, the sooner much-needed services can begin.
Having been through four autism diagnosis in our family, I’ve had a chance to learn what you should and should not do in the beginning. There are countless things you’ll want to do, all while not being capable of doing half of them. These four tips will cover the primary steps of what to do if you think your child may be autistic.
Call Your Child’s PCP
If your child is showing any signs of autism, it is essential to call your child’s primary care physician. While they pediatricians and general practitioners are typically not qualified to diagnose, they can screen and recommended a doctor to follow up with who can provide a diagnosis.
To start the process, schedule an appointment, and let the staff know you are concerned about autism or a developmental delay. Then, at the appointment, discuss your concerns with the doctor and ask for a referral for an autism evaluation. During this time, your child’s doctor will likely do an autism screening. The information obtained from the screen will not provide diagnosis, but it will help determine if your child needs to be referred to a specialist.