Autistic spectrum disorder is highly complex condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour in both children and adults. In order to ensure that every individual with autism receives the right care and support throughout life, it is essential that the condition is diagnosed as early as possible.

The word spectrum in Autism Spectrum Disorder means that every child is unique and has their own combination of characteristics. These combine to provide them a distinct social communication and behaviour profile.

As your child grows and develops, the nature or expression of these issues and challenges may change based on their biology and environmental experience. Usually, an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder will have some type of social and/or behavioural differences for their entire life.

Currently, there is no definitive ASD Testing. Family, instructors, and the general public are often confused by a diagnosis of ASD disorder. ASD diagnosis can be difficult, since there is no particular test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behaviour and development to make a diagnosis.

Autism Spectrum Disorder can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, numerous children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with an ASD may not get the assistance they need. ASD diagnosis includes two steps: developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.

Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they may have delays. During developmental screening the doctor may ask the parent some questions or talk and play with the child during an exam to see how she learns, speaks, behaves, and moves. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a problem.

All children should be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during doctor visits at 9 months, 18 months, 24 or 30 months. Additional screening may be required if a child is at high risk for developmental issues due to premature birth, low birth weight or other reasons.

If the doctor sees any signs of a problem, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is needed. Complete diagnostic evaluation may include looking at the child’s behavior and development and interviewing the parents. It might also include a hearing and vision screening, neurological testing, and other medical testing. In some cases, the primary care doctor may choose to refer the child and family to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis.

After an ASD diagnosis, you will probably have a lot of questions for your doctors and speech therapists. Another thing you can do is talk to other parents whose children have had an ASD medical diagnosis. ASD medical diagnosis is a simpler when you have a strong support system. Look for local NDIS-funded autism services in your area that will be able to help your autistic child’s needs.