Your child's health care provider will look for developmental problems at regular checkups.
What you can do
To prepare for your child's appointment:
- Bring a list of any medications, including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter medicines that your child is taking, and their dosages.
- Make a list of all the changes that you and others have observed in your child's behavior.
- Bring notes of any observations from other adults and caregivers, such as baby sitters, relatives and teachers. If your child has been evaluated by an early intervention or school program, bring this assessment.
- Bring a record of developmental milestones for your child, such as a baby book, if you have one.
- Bring a video of your child's unusual behaviors or movements, if you have one.
- Try to remember when your other children began talking and reaching developmental milestones, if your child has siblings, and share that information with the doctor.
- Be prepared to describe how your child plays and interacts with other children, siblings and parents.
- Bring a family member or friend with you, if possible, to help you remember information and for emotional support.
Make a list of questions that you want to ask your child's doctor. Questions might include:
- Why do you think my child does (or doesn't) have ASD?
- Is there a way to confirm the diagnosis?
- If my child does have ASD, is there a way to tell how severe it is?
- What changes can I expect to see in my child over time?
- What kind of special therapies or care do children with ASD need?
- How much and what kinds of regular medical care will my child need?
- What kind of support is available to families of children with ASD?
- How can I learn more about ASD?
Ask additional questions any time you don't understand something.
What to expect from your child's doctor
Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:
Jun. 03, 2014
- What specific behaviors prompted your visit today?
- When did you first notice these signs and symptoms in your child? Have others noticed signs?
- Have these behaviors been continuous or occasional?
- Does your child have any other symptoms that might seem unrelated to ASD, such as stomach problems?
- Does anything seem to improve your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
- When did your child first crawl? Walk? Say his or her first word?
- Does your child have delayed speech?
- What are some of your child's favorite activities? Is there one that he or she favors?
- How does your child interact with you, siblings and other children? Does your child show interest in others, make eye contact, smile or want to play with others?
- Have you noticed a change in your child's level of frustration in social settings?
- Does your child have a family history of ASD, language delay, Rett syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or anxiety or other mood disorders?
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- A parent's guide to autism spectrum disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/a-parents-guide-to-autism-spectrum-disorder/what-are-the-symptoms-of-asd.shtml. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
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- American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement: Sensory integration therapies for children with developmental and behavioral disorders. Pediatrics. 2012;129:1186.
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): Do vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/topics.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
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- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psychiatry.org/dsm5. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
- Chelation: Therapy or "therapy"? National Capital Poison Center. http://www.poison.org/current/chelationtherapy.htm. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
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- Tervo RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 28, 2014.
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