We don’t have a medical test that can diagnose autism. Instead, specially trained physicians and child psychologist administer autism-specific behavioral evaluations. Often parents are the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviors such as failing to make eye contact, not responding to his or her name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways. A typical diagnostic evaluation involves a multi-disciplinary team of doctors including a pediatrician, child psychologist, speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist. Genetic testing may likewise be recommended, as well as screening for related medical issues such as sleep difficulties.
Benefit of an autism test
So far, research has appropriately focused on treatments for children who have symptoms, especially those who are severely affected, More research on the impact of screening and treatment in very young children whose parents or doctor have not noticed symptoms is an important next step to helping all children. Early symptoms can vary, but may include repetitive behaviors like hand flapping or body rocking, extreme resistance to changes in routine, and sometimes aggression or self-injury. Behavioral, educational, speech and language therapy may help reduce the severity of autism symptoms in some children.