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Diagnosing and Treating Autism

Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their children. If you have concerns about your child’s development, it is important to share them with your pediatrician. Children should be screened for autism at each primary care visit at 9, 18, 24 and 30 months. If your child does not pass the screening tools, he should be referred for a diagnostic evaluation.

While you are waiting for the diagnostic evaluation appointment, you can request an evaluation by your Early Intervention (birth-3) or Early Education Services (3 and over).

How Autism Spectrum Disorders Are Diagnosed

Physicians with expertise in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders may make a medical evaluation of autism. The evaluation may include:

  • Review of previous medical and educational reports
  • Review of the child and families medical history
  • Structured interview with family members as well as the child
  • Behavior rating scales completed by parent, teachers, and child
  • ADOS- standard autism observation scale
  • Speech/Language evaluation
  • Occupational therapy evaluation
  • Cognitive adaptive testing
  • Physical and neurological exam

Our multidisciplinary team will make specific recommendations for interventions for your child.

Treatment Options

There is no single, definitive treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders. However, research indicates that early behavioral interventions help to maximize each child's potential.

Treatment options may include but are not limited to:

  • Speech/Language therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • PEERS Social Skill Program

Autism spectrum disorders vary in symptoms and severity, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 68 children has some form. Boys are four times as likely as girls to develop autism. Research on autism spectrum disorders only continues to grow – and so do the treatment options for individuals. It can be scary to learn your child may fall on this spectrum, but we’re here to provide options customized to the needs of your child. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, or to schedule an appointment today.

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