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Understanding Autism (page 7)

By — Helpguide
Updated on Feb 18, 2011

Autism Screening

Online Screening Tools for Autism

A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms.

The pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your child’s behavior. If you aren’t asked about your specific concerns, don’t be afraid to speak up. No one knows your child better than you.

If the pediatrician sees possible signs of autism, your child should be referred to a specialist for a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Screening tools can’t be used to make a diagnosis, which is why further assessment is needed.

Getting Immediate Help for Your Child

The diagnostic process for autism is tricky, and sometimes it can take awhile. But you don’t have to wait for an official diagnosis before you begin to get help for your child. Ask your doctor to refer you to early intervention services. Early intervention is a federally-funded program for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

Learn More ...

Related links for autism

General information about autism

Autism Overview: What We Know (PDF) – Comprehensive overview of autism’s causes, symptoms, prevalence, and treatment. (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

Autism: Enigma and Stigma – Article describes what life is like for individuals with autism. Includes a history of the disorder and a description of the symptoms. (University of Alabama, Birmingham)

Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders) – Learn the signs and symptoms of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Includes information about causes and treatment. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Early warning signs and symptoms of autism

First Signs - Non-profit organization dedicated to educating parents and pediatric professionals about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Helpful articles include Hallmark Developmental Milestones and Early Intervention.

Learn the Signs. Act Early. – Government resource on child development, including important developmental milestones and warnings signs and symptoms of developmental delays. (Centers for Disease Control)

Early Features of Autism – Fact sheet from the Australian Child to Adult Development Study covers the early warning signs and symptoms of autism. (ACT-NOW)

Autism: Recognizing the Signs in Young Children – Covers early red flags for autism and the reasons why early diagnosis is so important. (The National Autistic Society)

Autism screening

Sharing Concerns: Parent to Physician - Features tips on how to effectively communicate with the doctor regarding your concerns about your child. (First Signs)

Screening: Making Observations – Overview of developmental screening and how they can identify autism and other problems early. (First Signs)

Making Early Developmental Screenings Routine – Article on early developmental screenings for autism and how you can be an advocate for your child. (Connect for Kids)

Causes of autism

Searching for Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Covers the latest research on autism’s genetic and environmental causes. (Pri-Med Patient Education Center)

Autism and Genes (PDF) – Comprehensive look at the genetic factors involved in autism. Includes information about current research. (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

Focus Narrows in Search for Autism's Cause – Learn about evidence into autism’s causes, including abnormal brain development and connectivity abnormalities. (New York Times)

Time to Get a Grip (PDF) – Article by a Harvard Medical School neurology professor on the role of the environment in triggering autism. (Autism Advocate)

Environmental Health and Autism FAQ – Browse through frequently asked questions concerning environmental health and autism. (Autism Society of America)

Out of Sync? – Discover how faulty brain wiring may cause some of the problems seen in autism. (Psychology Today)

Study Provides Evidence That Autism Affects Functioning of Entire Brain – Reviews evidence that autism involves difficulties on complex tasks where various parts of the brain have to work together. (National Institutes of Health News)

Autism and vaccines

What Parents Should Know About Thimerosal – FAQ on thimerosal in vaccines, the dangers of mercury, and studies on the link between autism and vaccines. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research – Learn about the heated debate over the theory that mercury-containing vaccines cause autism. (New York Times)

Thimerosal and Autism – This Vaccine Education Center article looks into the proposed connection between thimerosal and autism. (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Thimerosal in Vaccines – In-depth government fact sheet on thimerosal-containing vaccines and concerns about autism. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Autism prevalence rates

Autism's So-Called Epidemic – Article argues that the rise in incidence of autism cases could be due to better diagnostic skills. (Psychology Today)

Is Autism on the Rise? – Article looks at the rising prevalence rates and whether or not this indicates a true spike in cases of autism. (Association for Science in Autism Treatment)

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