Embarking on the journey of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis is a significant undertaking that profoundly influences the lives of affected children and their families. At Whole Wellness Services, we understand the intricacies of this process and are committed to providing comprehensive care tailored to each child’s unique needs.
ASD diagnosis is not accompanied by a blood lab test, necessitating a meticulous approach that relies on careful observation of a child’s behavior and attentive listening to parental concerns. The challenge lies in the broad spectrum of symptoms ASD encompasses, ranging from severe mental disabilities to high intelligence with the capacity for independent living.
The diagnostic journey commences with pediatricians, especially during crucial well-child visits at 18- and 24-month checkups. Your pediatrician should engage in close observation, interaction, and inquiries into the family’s medical history, with a specific focus on any ASD occurrences. Developmental milestones, such as smiling by 6 months, mimicking sounds and facial expressions by 9 months, and babbling by 12 months, are assessed during these visits.
Pediatricians carefully look for signs such as unusual or repetitive behaviors, challenges in social interaction, difficulty making eye contact, responsiveness to attention, understanding others’ actions, tone of voice, and sensitivities to sensory stimuli. Additionally, sleep and digestion issues, as well as emotional responses like annoyance or anger, are noted, with parents’ feedback playing a crucial role in this process.
Should developmental concerns arise or if the pediatricianharbors any suspicions, a referral to a specialist for further evaluation is made. This typically involves a multidisciplinary team of ASD specialists, including a child psychologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, developmental pediatrician, and possibly a neurologist. Together, they conduct a comprehensive evaluation of cognitive levels, language abilities, and life skills. The team at Whole Wellness Services work carefully with pediatricians when autism is suspected.
An official ASD diagnosis aligns with criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), encompassing challenges in communication and social interaction, along with restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Advanced tools like the Cognoa ASD Diagnosis Aid, a machine learning software, are now utilized to monitor and identify developmental issues in children aged 18 months to 5 years.
Whole Wellness Services emphasizes the significance of early diagnosis and intervention to foster skill development crucial for a child’s growth. Additionally, our comprehensive approach may include genetic testing to exclude other conditions that might present similar symptoms.
Through this thorough and personalized approach, we ensure that each child receives an accurate diagnosis and the essential support tailored to their unique needs.