While it’s easy to screen for hearing or vision problems, it isn’t always as easy or straightforward to screen for certain developmental or behavioral disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is because there is no simple blood test that we can perform to provide a definitive diagnosis. Rather, one of our board-certified pediatricians will need to evaluate your child’s medical and developmental history and behaviors in order to make a proper diagnosis.
How Early Can Autism Be Detected?
It is possible for our team here at Horizon Pediatric & Primary Care to diagnose a child as young as 18 months old with autism; however, most of the time, parents don’t bring their child in for an evaluation until after two years old. In some cases, a diagnosis isn’t made until their teen years or even adulthood, depending on the severity of their symptoms and how it impacts their everyday life.
What Are The Early Signs of Autism?
Wondering if your child is displaying normal childhood behaviors or the early signs of autism? Some signs that your child could have autism include,
- Avoiding eye contact
- Showing little to no interest in socializing or playing with others
- Limited language or delayed speech
- Outbursts or temper tantrums when there are changes to their routine
While we don’t want parents to be alarmists when it comes to evaluating their child’s behaviors, it certainly doesn’t hurt to monitor and record your child’s behaviors and talk with our pediatrician here at Horizon Pediatric & Primary Care if you have any concerns.
The best thing you can do for you and your child is to get them the proper care they need and to act early if you notice the warning signs.
When Should My Child Be Screened?
Regardless of your child’s behaviors, the American Academy of Pediatrics highly advises all children to be screened for any development delays during their 9, 18 and 30-month checkups. Factors that could put your child at a higher risk for developmental problems such as preterm birth may also play a role in whether we recommend additional screenings throughout their childhood.
Screenings for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often performed by our pediatric team at your child’s 18 and 24-month checkup. A screening for ASD typically involves,
- Going through you child’s medical history
- Evaluating and observing your child’s behaviors
- Medical tests, to rule out underlying medical conditions that could be causing your child’s symptoms and behaviors
- Developmental screenings