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Autism Screening 101

Parents strive to do the best they can for their children. It’s a constant learning curve, finding new ways to understand and support your kid. If you’re on this page, chances are you’ve asked yourself some version of these questions: Does my toddler have autism, and how do I find out if they do? We can assure you that autism screening can get you some answers, and help you figure out what the next step is for you and your child.

Before you dive into researching nearby doctors or specialists, let’s go through a few things to get a sense of what to expect if you decide to seek autism screening services.

What is autism screening?

Autism screening is the process parents and children go through to figure out if a child needs a formal evaluation to test for autism. Screening results aren’t the same thing as a diagnosis.

What you need to know:

  • You’ll be working with your child’s doctor to fully interpret the autism screening results.
  • There isn’t a holy grail test that can definitively tell you whether or not a child has autism. Final diagnosis is based on history and behavior.
  • Autism in children can be detected at 18 months or younger. Diagnosis is considered reliable by 2 years old.
  • Only a medical professional can officially provide an autism diagnosis.

If you’re on the fence about whether your child needs screening or not, take some time to observe their behavior and note down anything that stands out to you. Take video to show to your doctor, if possible. These are a few common indicators that might suggest autism in toddlers:

  • Avoiding or not keeping eye contact
  • Not responding to their name
  • Sensitivity to lights, sound, smells, movement
  • Not playing with other children or adults
  • A limit or lack of facial expressions
  • Repetitive behavior (saying words over and over again, playing with toys the same way every time)

During testing:

Pediatricians usually conduct autism screening during a routine checkup, between 18 and 24 months old. The doctor might observe your child or ask questions about their behavior at home and outside of home. Doctors may also interact with your child to see how they respond and play.

What happens next?

If any of the behaviors listed above are present, your child may be recommended for a formal evaluation for autism. Aspire offers diagnostic testing, which you can learn more about here.

We're here to support you.

Learn more about autism screening, testing, and treatment by visiting our blog. Or, if you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us for help.

Ready to move forward with our clinical services? Schedule a diagnostic evaluation here.

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