Treatment Integrity and Reliability
BY: Dr. Hanna Rue
Understanding Autism Research and How to Use it to Advocate for Your Child
BY: Hanna Rue, PhD, BCBA-D
Información general sobre el autismo
BY: Angela Montes
Thanks to better awareness and more sophisticated screening instruments, autism is being diagnosed at younger ages than ever before. This is a positive step, since the earlier a child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the sooner important and effective treatments can be applied to aid their development.
ASD is typically diagnosed well before the child’s third birthday. Symptoms can be evident as early as six months of age, and it’s becoming more common for ASD to be identified as early as 18 months. Unfortunately, it is still common for some professionals to delay diagnosis until age three or even later, since they are reluctant to assign what they see as a “label” to the child. Fortunately, clinical and educational professionals are increasingly recognizing how critical early treatment is for children with ASD.
The diagnostic process for ASD is based on behavior and is the result of assessment and evaluation by a trained, experienced professional. Only a qualified professional should make the diagnosis—if the professional evaluating your child is not familiar with autism or is reluctant to give a diagnosis, you may seek a second opinion. Trust your instincts.
Remember that an ASD diagnosis does not define your child or dictate his or her future. Instead, a diagnosis is a crucial and valuable step in gaining access to interventions and services that can make a world of difference in their life.