Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not diagnosed through medical tests. An accurate diagnosis is made by a team of multidisciplinary professionals and is based on the observation of an individual’s communication, behavior, and developmental levels. However, because ASD shares behavioral characteristics with other disorders, medical tests might be ordered to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms being exhibited.
A brief observation in a single setting cannot present a true picture of an individual’s abilities and behaviors. Input from parents and other caregivers, plus the individual’s developmental history, are very important components of making an accurate diagnosis.
Listed below are resources that might be useful in reaching a diagnosis.
For children younger than 3:
For children ages 3-5:
Contact Preschool Services in your county to be directed to the program that can evaluate your child for your county or school system.
For children in kindergarten through 12th grade:
Send a written request to the principal of your local school asking for an evaluation based upon the suspicion of autism.
Child psychologists, child psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, and pediatric neurologists are able to diagnose autism. Connect with the local Chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina to ask other parents for physician referrals.
The UNC TEACCH Autism Program provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations for people at any age.