According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 out of 160 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The true figure may be different however, as the rate of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases is unknown. If you want to learn more about autism and the testing process, we can help.
The information below will detail everything you need to know about autism testing and diagnosis from a therapist in Tampa.
How Early Can Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Be Diagnosed?
The signs of ASD are not cut and dry and sometimes may not be as easily noticed/recognized in individuals. Autism is considered a “spectrum” disorder because the signs and symptoms can vary greatly when it comes to severity. For some, it impairs their abilities to function without support. For others, they may be more independent.
ASD is noticeable in children as young as 18 months. Some early indicators a professional may look for are:
- Difficulty making or sustaining eye contact
- Sensitivity to strong smells, loud sounds, bright lights, different textures, and touch
- Not crying in pain or showing many emotions
- Showing little interest in playing with other children, parents, or caretakers
- Limited vocabulary or difficulty with communication
- Becoming upset or angry by minor adjustments in their typical routine
A professional will consider these behaviors upon deciding on whether a diagnosis of ASD is appropriate. Children may be formally diagnosed with ASD as young as two years old.
In addition to the signs and symptoms listed above, toddlers may go through a phase of developmental regression. When a child enters a regression phase, the skills they have learned in socializing, communication, language, and motor function are lost. This occurs in around 20 percent of children with ASD.
Regression typically happens in children around 18 months to two years of age. A common presentation of developmental regression in children with autism is when a friendly and talkative two-year-old becomes withdrawn. They may not acknowledge others talking to them or saying their name, speak as much or at all, play with more than one or two toys, and/or become easily irritated.
Signs in Children and Young Adults
Some people may not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Certain indicators become more evident as time goes on.
Who is Qualified to Diagnose Autism?
Autism shares symptoms with other developmental disabilities like ADHD and dyslexia, so diagnosis needs to come from a specialist. Medical professionals that are qualified to conduct autism testing in Tampa include a:
- Pediatric Neurologist
- Developmental Pediatrician
- Child Psychologist
- Child Psychiatrist
Additionally, therapists can help with psychoeducational testing in Tampa as well.
How is ASD Diagnosed?
Many methods are used to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder, including developmental and psychological evaluations. A standard, research-backed assessment is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2). This method consists of five modules that focus on social interaction, communication, imagination, and behavior.
You can speak to a psychologist in Tampa about the testing process and the steps to take next. The standard approach is to seek behavioral and developmental therapy. ABA therapy in Tampa focuses on skill reinforcement and regulation.
Get the Support You Need With a Therapist in Tampa
Diagnosis of ASD, especially at an early age, is vital for helping a child live a happy and healthy life. If you have questions about autism testing with a therapist in Tampa, reach out to us here.