Since there is no medical test, like a blood test diagnosing autism can be difficult. In diagnosing autism doctors look at behavior and development of the child. There are two steps to diagnosing: Developmental Screening and a Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation.
Screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should. During the screening the doctor might ask the parents some questions, or talk to the child and play with the child during the exam to see how he or she learns, speaks, behaves and moves. Any delaying any of these areas could be the sign of a problem.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation
The second step of diagnosing autism is a Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation. This review may include looking at a child’s behavior and development, and interviewing the parents. It may also include a vision and hearing test, genetic tests, neurological testing, and other medical testing. In some cases doctors might choose to refer to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. A specialist that can do this type of of evaluation includes development pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children special needs), children neurologist (a doctor who works on brain spine and nerves), child psychologist or psychiatrist (doctors who know about the human mind).
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