How Autism id Diagnosed.
Diagnosing Autism isn’t as easy as it might sound. There is no medical test, such as blood test or MRI that can diagnose Autism. It is diagnosed on the basis of a child’s behaviour and developmental history. In general, specially trained physicians and psychologists are the ones who can diagnose Autism at an early stage.
A child starts showing signs of Autism when he/she is 18 months old. Till the time a child reaches the age of two, a reliable diagnosis can be done by an experienced Autism specialist. Due to the lack of proper awareness and scarcity of qualified specialists, Autism remains undiagnosed for a long time in many cases, causing an agonizing delay in giving a child the much needed help.
Parents who are aware about Autism can help their child get diagnosed at an early stage by noticing the strange behaviour displayed by them, which includes avoiding eye contact, not responding on being called upon, developing strange attachment with objects, etc. Unlike them, the parents who are unaware about Autism might ignore these strange characteristics shown by their children and most of the time end up considering them to be mentally weak or slow learners.
However, these are two broad steps through which Autism is diagnosed–
- Developmental Screening: It is a process to determine and identify the delays in basic learning skills. During this drill, the examiner asks some predetermined set of questions to the parents and talks/plays with the child and make a note of his/her behaviour. Specialists can detect the delays in child’s cerebral progress and diagnose Autism.
- Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation: The second step is more holistic method of assessment. This includes a deeper evaluation of child’s behaviour and development. This evaluation process includes, genetic testing, neurological testing, and hearing and vision screening. The experts who specialize in comprehensive diagnostic evaluation include child neurologists, developmental paediatricians and child psychologists.
Every child should be checked for Autism Spectrum Disorder when he/she is 18 and 24 months old. Additional attention might be needed if a child is at high risk, i.e. has a family history of Autism. Those children are also face high risk of ASD who’ve had premature birth and low birth weight.
Unawareness about Autism is the arch nemesis of every autistic person. Unawareness is the only reason why thousands of innocent children get deprived of the help they need and deserve. So if you are reading this article, don’t forget to share it to spread the awareness.