Why Get an Autism Diagnosis?
It’s already difficult to accept when your child is different, but an autism diagnosis can be an emotional experience for the whole family. It’s easy to just shrug and say “we’ll figure it out” in the face of long waiting lists for testing. However, getting a formal autism diagnosis can help make navigating the world easier for your child—and in turn, for you.
An early autism diagnosis can be vital, especially if it occurs before your child attends school. But even then, formal diagnosis in childhood is still incredibly beneficial. Read on to learn more.
Better Understanding of Self for the Child — and the Family
There are a number of behaviors that present in children with autism that also present in typical peers, such as meltdowns, difficulty making friends, and anxiety over changes in routine. However, when these and other behaviors begin to impact daily life in ways that are detrimental, it can be difficult to find helpful solutions.
An autism diagnosis can be empowering for both your child and your family. Knowing that these behaviors can be managed through therapy, or even knowing that they’re not your child’s fault, can go a long way in creating understanding between your child and other frustrated family members. A diagnosis can also lead to finding solutions that work best for your child and your family.
Why Get Your Child an Autism Diagnosis?
Necessary Supports Are Easier to Determine
With a formal autism diagnosis, your child now has access to a team of therapists and other professionals who can determine how best to support them. Plans can be created to assist your child in a variety of environments, from home to school and everything in between.
For example, decisions like being in a self-contained classroom versus a mainstream classroom with an aide can all be made thanks to their diagnosis. The diagnosis also makes it easier to advocate with school officials and will protect your child under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into their adulthood.
Other Programs or Technologies Will Be Available
As your child grows older, transitional services like special job placements for those diagnosed with autism can be available specifically for them. Consider other activities your child may have interest in, such as sports or other hobbies. An official diagnosis can allow them to participate in events such as the Special Olympics.
A formal diagnosis can also make certain technologies used for supports are available. Talk to your child’s therapist about all the available avenues that can help.
Co-Existing Disorders Can Be Diagnosed Properly
Other disorders often co-exist with autism or can even be mistaken for autism. With a formal diagnosis, it is easier to determine which behaviors stem from autism and which behaviors are from another disorder altogether. This also allows your child to get proper treatment and better care for their well-being. It often leads to greater understanding of your child as well.
For example, if your child is also experiencing anxiety or depression, these can be treated separate from autism, leading to a better quality of life.
How is Autism Diagnosed?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all diagnostic test for autism. Autism diagnosis criteria can be lengthy and confusing. However, most tests will include:
- A psychiatric assessment to rule out other diagnoses
- A very detailed developmental history to determine if traits being exhibited are consistent with autism
- An observation of the child interacting with a clinician, observed by another clinician
At The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis, we’re happy to assist you in getting your child the support they need after their formal diagnosis. We offer a variety of autism services that can benefit your child at any stage.
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