Skip to main content

How is Autism Diagnosed?

How is Autism Diagnosed? Diagnostic Criteria for Autism

Autism is a not a specific disability but a spectrum. The signs and levels of autism vary from one child to the next. Therefore, it’s difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. If your child is on the higher end of the spectrum, they may go many years without a diagnosis.

There are lots of factors that go into a diagnosis of autism. In this article, we’ll explain some of the criteria that is used to diagnose a child with autism.

Before a doctor even considers the possibility of a diagnosis of autism, there is a checklist that he/she will go over. Some of the things on the checklist are as follows:

  • Poor relationships with others
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Focusing on one thing for a long time
  • Insisting on certain routines/rituals

If these signs are present, your child’s physician will want to further evaluate your child. They will question you, as well as anyone else that has close contact with your child. If your child is in school, the physician may send forms for the teacher/teachers to fill out. Once those forms are returned, the physician will compare them and find out if the results are similar. If all the results point to the same thing, the physician will consider further testing.

Additionally, you must keep in mind that children develop at their own pace. Some develop earlier than others and some develop slower than others. If a parent is concerned about their child not meeting their developmental milestones on time, they may discuss their options for further testing with their child’s physician. At this point, the physician will ask the parents some questions. If the answers point to autism, the physician will order further evaluations.

There’s not one specific test that can definitively say that a child has autism. There will be several appointments with a variety of medical professionals to rule out the possibility of there being another condition causing the issues your child is experiencing.

Scroll to Continue

For example, if your child is late learning how to speak, they may be suspected of having hearing issues and once this is checked, the physician will move on to evaluate for autism. There are several other health conditions that can mimic the symptoms of autism. Children must be evaluated for other medical conditions before autism will be considered.

In order to be diagnosed with autism, your child will need to be evaluated by a team of medical professionals, including your child’s physician, a speech therapist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a neurologist.

Once your child has been evaluated by each member of the team, they will meet and compare what they discovered. After that, the parents will be called in so findings can be discussed. If the diagnosis of autism is made, a treatment plan will be put into effect.


Each child will show different symptoms and levels of autism. Therefore, it may take longer to get a diagnosis for some children than others. However, once your child has been diagnosed, the most important thing is to begin treatment. The treatment plan you choose should make your child’s life much better. While there’s no cure, treatments will help to lessen the symptoms, helping you and your child cope with their new diagnosis.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Krista Mounsey

Related Articles