Parents are usually the first to notice the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If you visit your GP and they agree that your suspicions may be valid, they will probably suggest getting an ASD diagnosis.
Having to get your child diagnosed for ASD can be scary for parents, which will probably be full of questions and uncertainty about the future. To help you through this emotional time, we’ve put together a list of common questions parents have regarding ASD diagnosis, so that you’ll be better prepared for what may lie ahead.
Why does my child need an ASD Diagnosis?
As a condition without a “cure” per se, many parents struggle with whether ASD diagnosis is necessary. When it comes to autism spectrum disorder, it’s better to think of ASD diagnosis as a personalised assessment of your child and their special needs. Not only does this assessment give you thorough information about your child’s strengths and challenges, this information will inform a specialised early intervention plan that will help your child get the right help at the right time.
If your child is found to have autism, their ASD diagnosis documentation will also help you claim NDIS funding to cover the costs of early intervention and on-going support.
How is Autism Diagnosed?
As the symptoms of autism vary, so do the methods of obtaining an ASD diagnosis. Specialised healthcare practitioners, such as paediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists are trained in diagnosing ASD. In this case, the first step to undertaking an ASD diagnosis for your child is to see your GP or family doctor, who will refer you to the right person.
In some cases, a team of specialists may have evaluated your child and provided recommendations for treatment. If your child has had special needs and early intervention from very early on, due to conditions such as partial deafness or issues with motor skills, it may be your speech therapist or physical therapist that has picked up on possible ASD and referred you on accordingly. If your ASD diagnosis has come from a team of multi-disciplinary practitioners, all their specific assessments and reports will be used in giving your child a formal ASD diagnosis.
It is also important to make sure that you ask for a comprehensive report that includes the diagnosis in writing, as well as recommendations for treatment. These reports are often required to access NDIS funding and services.
What does an ASD diagnosis mean for my child?
An ASD diagnosis is just a way of identifying your child’s strengths and developmental challenges.
Many families report mixed feelings of sadness and relief when their child is diagnosed with ASD. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed with what lays ahead, as well as feeling relieved to know that the concerns you had for your child were valid.
If ASD diagnosis means anything for your child, it means this: they are still the same unique and lovable person they always were – but now it’s easier for them to get the support they need.