A pediatrician usually performs developmental screenings at regular well-child visits. If you think your child may have a developmental disorder, talk with the pediatrician. If your child's doctor suspects a developmental disorder, you'll probably be referred to a team of childhood development specialists for more detailed testing.
What you can do
To get the most from your visit to the doctor, prepare in advance:
- Make a list of any signs and symptoms you've noticed in your child, including any that may seem unrelated to growth and development.
- Bring key personal information, including details and dates of when your child reached various milestones. It may help to bring along a baby book or other record of your child's growth and development. Family videos may help a doctor understand what your child was like before the onset of symptoms. Also, let your doctor know of any family history of developmental disorders.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins, herbs or supplements that your child is taking.
- Take a family member or friend along who is familiar with the child, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
- Take a notebook or electronic device with you. Use it to note important information during your visit.
For childhood disintegrative disorder, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my child's symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests will my child need?
- What are the potential outcomes for my child?
- What's the best treatment for my child?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- What is the next step?
- Should my child see a specialist? Which one? Is the specialist to whom you're referring me experienced in diagnosing or treating childhood disintegrative disorder?
- Does my child need medication? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
- What resources are available to me and my family?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor. Your doctor might ask questions such as:
Mar. 06, 2013
- When did your child begin experiencing these symptoms?
- Have your child's symptoms been continuous or intermittent?
- How severe are your child's symptoms? Are they becoming more severe?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
- Childhood disintegrative disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.
- Fact sheet: Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD). Illinois Autism Training & Technical Assistance Project. http://www.illinoisautismproject.org/. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.
- Sadock BJ, et al. Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&CSC=Y&NEWS=N&PAGE=booktext&D=books2&AN=01412563/9th_Edition/5&XPATH=/OVIDBOOK%5b1%5d/METADATA%5b1%5d/TBY%5b1%5d/EDITORS%5b1%5d. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): Condition information. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/autism/conditioninfo/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed. Jan. 21, 2013.
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- Augustyn M. Terminology, epidemiology, and pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.
- Pervasive developmental disorders information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/pdd/pdd.htm. Accessed Jan 21. 2013.
- 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-is-autism-spectrum-disorder-asd.shtml. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.
- Augustyn M. Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan 21, 2013.
- Huffman LC, et al. Management of symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders: A comprehensive review of pharmacologic and complementary-alternative medicine treatment. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 2011;32:56.
- Kupfer DJ, et al. DSM-5 — The future arrived. JAMA In press. Accessed Feb. 25, 2013.
- Huxsahl JE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 5, 2013.
- Swintak CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 21, 2013.
- Rosman NO, et al. Childhood disintegrative disorder: Distinction from autistic disorder and predictors of outcome. Journal of Child Neurology. In print. Accessed Feb. 24, 2013.