The Case for Early Diagnosis
by Invo & Therapy Services
AutismHomeSupport.com | 844-AHSS-ABA
You can’t stop worrying about your toddler. He’s two years old, but usually doesn’t respond to his name. Every toddler has tantrums, but your son’s are epic and can be caused by something as simple as having lunch early.
Your pediatrician is reassuring. He reminds you that kids develop at different rates and suggests giving your son time to catch up.
A year later, you’re even more concerned, because your son is harder to handle and actively avoids playing with other children. The doctor refers him to a few hours of speech and occupational therapy each week. This is often called “early intervention” and is designed to help children get ready for school.
A friend suggests your son might have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). No, you say. That’s not possible. Something might be “off” with your son, but he doesn’t have autism.
This is a common scenario. Parents are so scared at the idea of their child having ASD that they avoid it at all costs. Yet pursuing a diagnosis as early as possible is the key to transforming fear into hope and a promising future.
The Earlier, The Better
It can be frightening to learn that your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder since there is no cure or a definite prognosis. But the sooner your child is evaluated, the sooner you can start making progress.
If your child does have autism, a diagnosis as early as 2 years old is considered reliable. It is also the first step in identifying your child’s unique needs and the best combination of therapy and services to help.
Every child with autism has unique opportunities and challenges. The developmental pediatrician who evaluates your child may recommend a combination of therapies that may include speech, occupational, physical and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
ABA is a scientifically proven therapy for improving communication, reducing difficult behaviors and building life skills. It is the only autism treatment that has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics. ABA also works well with other therapies.
Most parents don’t know that it can take six to nine months to get a child assessed by a developmental pediatrician. After a child receives a medical diagnosis of autism, it typically takes two to four months to research therapy providers and get insurance approval.
If you don’t start the process until your child is five, he won’t start intensive therapy until she’s about six.
But if your child is diagnosed at two or three years old, she’ll have many additional years to make progress. She will also have more time before starting school to gain new skills and reduce challenging behaviors.
From Fear to Hope
Parents who avoid an ASD diagnosis are understandably trying to protect their child and handle their own worries. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen. Without a diagnosis and intensive therapy, the child’s challenges grow – and so do the parents’ fears.
Getting an early evaluation and diagnosis is the most important step you can take to help your son or daughter. An early diagnosis can transform fear into hope, opening the door to new options and a bright future.