“I wish we had known earlier.”
This is a common comment from parents of children with autism. But how early should you get your child diagnosed with autism? What are the benefits of early diagnosis for autistic children? We’ll answer these questions and more in this post.
A quick Google search will show that the ideal age for an autism diagnosis will give you a range to seek a reliable autism diagnosis. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how early autism should be diagnosed, early diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons.
When Should Autism Be Diagnosed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children be screened for ASD at 18 months and again at 24 months of age. However, some experts believe autism can be diagnosed even earlier.
There are a number of signs and symptoms that can be seen in children as young as 12 months of age that may be indicative of ASD. These signs and symptoms include:
- Lack of eye contact.
- Failure to respond to their name.
- Delayed language development.
- Repetitive behaviors.
- Difficulty playing with other children.
- Insisting on sameness.
See your doctor if your child displays some of the autism symptoms listed above. Your doctor can assess your child’s development and recommend further evaluation if necessary.
Benefits of early diagnosis
Early diagnosis is critical for 3 major reasons:
- It’ll help you get the right support they need for your child to thrive. With early diagnosis, children with ASD can develop communication, social, and behavioral skills and it’s even most effective when started early in life.
- Early diagnosis helps you figure out where your child is on the spectrum and get support that is specifically tailored to their individual needs. This way, they can reach their full potential in school, work, and life.
- Early diagnosis can help reduce the stigma associated with ASD. It gives parents more time to learn about the disorder and to advocate for their child’s needs. This can help reduce the stigma associated with ASD and to ensure that children with ASD are treated fairly and with respect.
Challenges with Early Intervention
While we encourage early diagnosis, the wait time to get an accurate diagnosis can range anywhere from 9 months to three years. This is because there’s been a rise in autism cases. This makes the number of children who need a diagnosis much higher than the number of medical professionals who have experience with the disorder. This long wait can put an emotional strain on parents and family members with autism.
By using telehealth methods, you can see an independent medical neuropsychologist in half the time you normally would with a 91% accuracy rate. This way, you can get early intervention support for your child.
There are a number of different types of early intervention services that can help children with ASD. These services include:
- Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Social skills training
The specific services for your child depend on their individual needs. Your doctor can help you determine which services are most appropriate for your child.
Early diagnosis and intervention are essential for ASD children. By getting the support they need early in life, children with ASD can reach their full potential and live happy and fulfilling lives.
More information and resources
You can learn more about early signs of the spectrum disorder and how to understand what it will mean for you and your family here: