Getting a Diagnosis of Autism

July 20th, 2013

Please note the views in this article do not necessarily express the views of Talk About Curing Autism and are an editorial provided by a parent with a child with autism.

Introduction

Diagnosing Autism is not always easy.  In the past 20 years, many doctors have commented – “Boys develop slower than girls”, or my favorite “Your child will grow out of it.  Just wait and see.”  Early intervention is the most important thing you can do for a child with development delays, including autism, making this "wait and see" delay detrimental to your child.  Make sure if there are suspicions that a child / or your child may have Autism, we recommend you see at least two qualified doctors that either are a:

1)      neurologist

- or –

2)      developmental specialist such as a child psychologist, developmental pediatrician

- or -

3) MAPS doctor

The purpose of your visit should be to cite your suspicions and specific delays or problems your child may have so that they may receive early intervention.

For a detailed walk-through of how to get a diagnosis, please read here.

Why a Diagnosis of Autism is Important

Many times, children that are autistic are missed in our medical system or improperly diagnosed with another disorder vs. the proper diagnosis of autism.

In the past two years, this has happened to 25 families that I know personally.  The child was:

  1. Missed completely by their pediatrician and valuable time was lost
  2. Delayed (i.e., wait a few months and we will see) and valuable time was lost
  3. Misdiagnosed – and valuable time was lost

Now... here are my BIASED THOUGHTS on why pushing for an autism diagnosis can actually help a child. Please note, these are my personal opinions.  Each family must choose the right direction for themselves. These are my thoughts after working with many families in Southern California.

Editorial

It is amazing that Doctors think that hearing a "lesser" diagnosis can help the parents and the child in question.  THIS MEANS I AM GOING TO OFFEND SOMEONE and for that, I am sorry!  Here are my thoughts:

  1. A diagnosis OTHER than Autism will net the child very little services. We fight for the little we get and a lesser diagnosis gets you VERY LITTLE and in some cases NOTHING.
  2. Easing the blow to the parents today does not help the child today or tomorrow.  Early intervention is the key.
  3. Parents know their children and very few of us have been in denial (ok... some!) Here is the issue - we basically listen to the professionals who tell us that our children are OK and to stop being over protective. When the reality is our children have autism and they are not doing us a favor by calling time out and delaying the inevitable.
  4. Folks, we are in an autism epidemic. I spoke to a neurologist in my area (who asked NOT to be quoted).  He was asked to "ease up on the autism diagnosis while they caught up with the current case load."  I am not kidding here. The entire school district, early start and medical services are overwhelmed with new cases.
  5. And for the most offensive thing ever, PDD stands for PEDIATRICIAN DID NOT DECIDE.  We need to push for clear, concise decisions for our children and unfortunately the many other children who will get a diagnosis.

Bottom line, anyone you know or come in contact with that THINKS their child has a development delay our jobs are to HELP EDUCATE THEM on what a development delay is.  Parents need to push for the correct label and push doctors to accept the label for the benefit of their child to get intervention necessary for a more productive life LATER.

Sorry to be Dennis Miller and rant here but If I had a DOLLAR for every child that was diagnosed PDD in my small neck of the woods that was 100% autistic, I would have a lot of DOLLARS. These poor families need to get a proper diagnosis and get on with 100% services available EARLY not later!

Resources

A few web sites to make note of for diagnostic criteria (these are just a few, there are more!):

Diagnosing Autism - The Criteria

 

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