The diagnosis of autism is a unique process for each patient. Although there are patterns of symptoms and behaviors, it is important to remember that the right professional and the right documentation help a lot. This is precisely due to the wide range of ASD signals and the importance of identifying patterns.
As some of the most relevant signs of autism – for example, difficulty playing and delayed speech – appear in the early years of life, concerned families seek help from health professionals. Another reason to be aware is that some symptoms are less noticeable during childhood. This is the case of irritability and hypersensitivity.
Therefore, it is essential that health professionals be aware of all possibilities of autism diagnosis. Moreover, there are tools that can assist in the process.
What the health professional should do
Neurologist Marcelo Masruha explains that there is still an important challenge in diagnosing autism: finding it early. “Whenever there is a suspicion of autism, such as if a child who is not speaking after 1 year of age, who does not communicate by gestures, has restricted and repetitive interests and behaviors, this child should be referred to evaluation with a child neurologist or child psychiatrist ”says the doctor and teacher. “These professionals are the most qualified to establish the diagnosis and, as necessary, issue a report containing the same.”
Other challenges for health professionals in the diagnostic process relate to symptom records in children. It is important to pay attention to the set of behaviors that may be signs. Children, who have repetitive movements, have hypersensitivity to noise and textures, who cannot establish a dialogue, among others.
However, the professional notes that in the case of young children, there are differential diagnoses that can make it difficult and confused with the diagnosis of autism. “Like language development disorder associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” says Dr. Marcelo. “They are agitated, inattentive children who are not speaking properly. Often separating both conditions is difficult. ”
After Autism Diagnosis
Even with the challenges, he believes that the process of diagnosing autism today is easier with diminishing stigma. “Over the past two decades, there has been a large increase in the number of cases of autism spectrum disorder, and this seems to have been due to a greater awareness of society about the problem. Thus, the prejudice has been much greater and the campaigns for information and enlightenment of society have had an effect”.
The report also plays a role after the diagnosis of autism. “The physician, who assesses the patient, when issuing a report, must state what his diagnostic hypothesis is and indicate the necessary therapies. The certainty diagnosis cannot always be confirmed on a first assessment, but follow-up usually allows it to be established,”explains Masruha.
As said by the neurologist, the tool is useful “to indicate changes, referrals to therapies and to indicate the evolution that the patient has presented,” he concludes.
Want to know more about how to identify autism? See this post – Signs of Autism: How to Identify?
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