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How does a specialist diagnose autism in a toddler?

My daughter's two year old son has signs of autism. His speech therapist suggested he be tested as soon as possible. His pediatrician hasn't ever mentioned the possibility to the parents. Wondering why? What kind of testing can they expect. Would it be neurological exam, CT etc. or observant behavior by a specialist?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:57 PM on Dec. 17, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (2)
  • Observation by a psychologist, consultation and questions asked by a neurologist. If they are in preschool they will have the teacher and others there fill out questionnaires as well. They will probably do blood tests, an MRI. And if he's behind on his language refer you to a Speech Pathologist who will ask more questions and get a good idea of where his speech abilities are at.

    Answer by badgirl44654 at 12:00 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • It will be mostly "playing" with the child. They will not do blood tests, or an MRI, and there doesn't have to be a consult with a neurologist - there is no medical test for autism. It's usually a team of child development specialists who interact with the child to see where they are developmentally. They will probably ask the parents to fill out a questionnaire detailing what the child can/can't do (put on clothes, feed self, etc.), and they will use their observations and the parents answers to make the diagnosis. Pediatricians many time do not notice autism because they only see the child for a very short period of time at visits.

    Answer by missanc at 6:49 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

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