Understanding The Autism Diagnosis: A Guide for Parents 

Understanding the Autism Diagnosis

When you or a doctor notice something unique in your child’s development and behavior, it is normal to feel confusion and anxiety. However, an accurate diagnosis can overcome the uncertainty and mark the beginning of the path to helping your child. According to the latest autism statistics in the U.S., the frequency of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has reached 1 in every 36 children. Conversely, understanding the process of autism diagnosis is not that simple. Autism is a “spectrum” disorder with different severity levels, presenting many possible symptoms and manifestations that can make it challenging to identify.

To obtain an autism diagnosis by a licensed provider, the patient must meet the criteria outlined in the DSM-5, which are the guidelines established and recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Early intervention of autism is crucial to provide your child with the special services and support they need to reach their full potential.

At Texas ABA Centers, we help get your child’s autism testing and diagnosis without the burden of a long waitlist, so your loved one can get started with the therapy as soon as possible. We understand this process might seem overwhelming and raise many questions, but this blog offers a complete guide to help you understand autism diagnosis. 

What is Autism Testing and Diagnosis?

To begin, discussing autism with a medical doctor is essential. All children between 18 and 24 months undergo an evaluation by their medical provider to ensure that their development is progressing normally and to rule out any symptoms of autism. The doctor should then advise you on whether additional tests are necessary.

All cases of autism are different and vary in severity. Autism should not be understood as a disease but rather as a developmental disorder that specialists can address to improve a patient’s living conditions and future.

Exploring Fundamental Skills

The initial evaluation for autism diagnosis involves licensed medical professionals who conduct this procedure. This evaluation examines your child’s daily living skills, language, communication, and cognitive level. In some cases, depending on the child, attention, memory, motor functioning, and academic achievement might also be evaluated.

Furthermore, observations of your child’s behavior will be crucial in this evaluation phase, as the provider will want to discuss your child’s characteristic behaviors and developmental history. We cannot stress the importance of sharing as many details as possible about your child’s behavior. You can also provide support by bringing medical records, test results, evaluations, and notes from caregivers. Regardless of whether you consider certain information irrelevant, try to provide comprehensive and objective descriptions of any behaviors that concern you. Such details could hold significance for an autism diagnosis. Please ask any questions you might have as well.

Physical Examination

The provider(s) will likely perform a physical examination during the initial evaluation to eliminate other potential medical issues. These tests can aid in identifying different factors that contribute to challenging behaviors or developmental delays.

Understanding that the evaluation process is thorough and that your provider will consider various factors before reaching a diagnosis is crucial. To receive an official diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, the patient must fulfill the established criteria in the DSM-5. 

After the autism testing, the specialists analyze and review the results to give an accurate autism diagnosis. 

Main Signs of Autism

Sometimes doctors may not order additional tests to diagnose children with autism, as the symptoms can be mild or mistaken for other conditions. Moreover, many families are unfamiliar with autism symptoms, further complicating recognition. Early identification is crucial in autism therapy; studies have indicated that receiving necessary interventions in early infancy leads to improved outcomes. Therefore, recognizing the primary signs of autism is essential for addressing the situation and providing timely assistance to your child, ensuring a better future.

Physical Symptoms

  • Hand flapping 
  • Repetitive finger movements 
  • Rocking the body 
  • Spinning in circles
  • Delayed movement skills 
  • Lack of facial expressions by nine months  
  • Limited use of non-verbal communication gestures, such as not waving goodbye by 12 months  
  • Lack of singing, dancing, or playing pretend by five years of age 
  • Hyperactive, impulsive, or inattentive behavior 
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorder 
  • Gastrointestinal issues (e.g., constipation) 
  • Unusual lack of fear or heightened fear reactions

Social Skills

  • Delayed language skills 
  • Avoidance of or no eye contact 
  • No response to name by nine months  
  • No engagement in simple interactive games like peek-a-boo by 12 months 
  • Lack of awareness of others’ feelings by their 2nd birthday
  • No interest in other children or playing with them by three years 

Unusual Behaviors

  • Arranging toys or objects instead of playing with them 
  • Distress when their routines and plans change 
  • Excessive repetition of words or phrases  
  • Memorization of complex information and its repetition, like movie lines 
  • Consistent lack of diverse play styles with toys 
  • Focus on specific parts of objects 
  • Intense obsession with particular interests 
  • Difficulty coping with changes to routine 
  • Extreme reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, sights, and textures 
  • Delayed cognitive or learning skills 
  • Unusual eating or sleeping habits 
  • Uncommon mood or emotional reactions 
  • Presence of anxiety, stress, or excessive worry

What to Expect After an Autism Diagnosis

It is normal to feel afraid and confused after a loved one receives an autism diagnosis. Be sure to ask the medical provider for a detailed explanation of your child’s diagnosis and situation. 

Before going to the doctor’s appointment to get the diagnosis result, we recommend researching before you go. At Texas ABA Centers, we have blogs with valuable information about autism that could help you elaborate some questions to your medical provider and have a meaningful conversation.

After receiving an autism diagnosis for a loved one, you can be sure there are therapy options to help your child thrive. Selecting a company specialized in autism therapy, like Texas ABA Centers, is the next important step. As mentioned before, time is crucial for autism, and receiving the necessary attention as soon as possible will make a difference. 

How Can Texas ABA Centers Help You? 

Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA) is an FDA-acknowledged, scientifically supported approach widely recognized as the gold standard in autism therapy. At Texas ABA Centers, we offer ABA therapy facilitated by certified experts. ABA therapy is individualized to cater to your child’s unique needs, aiming to address their weaknesses and enhance their strengths. 

At Texas ABA Centers, we emphasize the advantages of autism testing and diagnosis, as we recognize the value of an early autism diagnosis. Acknowledging and comprehending your child’s autism can be a difficult task. Still, it represents the initial stride towards providing the treatment your child requires to acquire skills that pave the way for independence and future engagement with the world. 

Our team of autism experts at Texas ABA Centers can guide you throughout the entire journey. Call us at (877) 771-5725 for a free consultation, or visit our website to contact us. 

Connect With Us on Social

Scroll to Top