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How to Understand the Autism Diagnosis Process

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If you are just pursuing an autism diagnosis for your child or you are in the beginning stages, here’s how to understand the autism diagnosis process. Be sure to take a look at more of my resources for dealing with the initial diagnosis.

Tests and Evaluations for the Autism Diagnosis Process

In the last ten years, there have been a multitude of new tests and evaluations for autism spectrum disorder. Some were designed to help with the screening or diagnosis while others were developed for gathering information for individuals already on the spectrum.

The ones that I want to talk about are the ones that are most widely and readily available:

NAMEFORMATYEAR CREATED
Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale (ASDS)Questionnaire2001
Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC)Questionnaire1978
Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)Semi-structured interview2003
Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS)Direct Assessment2000
Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI)Direct Assessment2000
Autism Spectrum Rating ScaleQuestionnaire2010
Autism Spectrum Screening QuestionnaireQuestionnaire1999
Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT)Questionnaire and Direct Assessment1992
Childhood Autism Rating Scale – Second Edition (CARS2)Questionnaire2010
Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders (ESAC)Questionnaire2009
Early Screening of Autistic Traits (ESAT)Questionnaire2006
Gilliam Asperger Disorder Scale (GADS)Questionnaire2001
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, 2nd Edition (GARS-2)Questionnaire2006
Infant Toddler Checklist (ITC)Questionnaire2002
Krug Asperger’s Disorder Index (KADI)Questionnaire2003
Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)Questionnaire2001
Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test- 2 (PDDST-II)Series of questionnaires2004
Screening Tools for Autism in Two Year Olds (STAT)Direct assessment2000
Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ)Questionnaire2003
Social Responsiveness ScaleQuestionnaire2002

A General Timeline for the Autism Diagnosis Process

There is generally a three step process when it comes to evaluating for autism.

  • There is a concern (pediatrician, caregiver, family member, teacher, etc.) 
  • Referral (a parent, healthcare professional or therapist contacts someone who is qualified to do an evaluation)
  • Evaluation and recommendation (the evaluation is conducted and recommendations are made

In addition the diagnostic tests listed above, there are additional elements that go into an evaluation:

  • hearing screening
  • developmental/cognitive screening
  • speech/language assessment
  • parent interviews
  • child observations
  • genetic testing

For my daughter, we had her developmental screening, child observation in the developmental pediatrician’s office, and she also underwent blood work. 

Of those? The blood work traumatized her for life. To the point where entering a doctor’s office is difficult. 

I can still remember her observation and the sinking feeling in my stomach as the developmental pediatrician watched. There had been suspicions, certainly. But to see them coming to light and manifesting? It really wasn’t until then that we started to realize that something truly was not right.

Making Sense of the Autism Diagnosis with My New Diagnosis Toolkit

In my new autism diagnosis toolkit, I am including a checklist, printable timeline, and several other resources. These are the things I’d wish I’d had when my daughter was first diagnosed.

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Kori

Content Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed neurodivergent mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, and coach; Kori shares neurodivergent life in a neurotypical world while helping others to do the same. As an empath, HSP, and highly intuitive individual, Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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