A Team Approach to Making a DiagnosisAutism is a complex disorder. A comprehensive evaluation requires a multidisciplinary team including a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals experienced in diagnosing autism. The team members will conduct a thorough neurological assessment and in-depth cognitive and language testing.
Because hearing problems can cause behaviors that could be mistaken for autism, children with delayed speech development should also have their hearing tested. After a thorough evaluation, the team usually meets with parents to explain the results of the evaluation and present the diagnosis.
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum DisordersChildren with some symptoms of autism, but not enough to be diagnosed with classical autism, are often diagnosed with PDD-NOS.
Those children who exhibit autistic behaviors but well-developed language skills are often diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.
Children who develop normally and then suddenly deteriorate between the ages of 3 to 10 years and show marked autistic behaviors may be diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder.
Girls with autistic symptoms may be suffering from Rett syndrome, a sex-linked genetic disorder characterized by social withdrawal, regressed language skills, and hand wringing.