This is best clarified in a child development unit. Several experts are needed for this, because good team collaboration yields better results for an accurate diagnosis. The assessment includes an overview of family history, pregnancy, child behavior and progress in development. A physical examination is necessary to detect hidden medical conditions that contribute to deviations or delays in expected development.
The development investigation includes:
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Language (language comprehension, expressive language and sound production)
- Sensory perception
- Social and emotional development
The quality of development is an important factor in the assessment. It’s a big difference, for example, whether skills are only present, or whether they are also used for social behavior. A child with autism may have the ability to repeat words, but not yet an understanding of their meaning. Or a toddler with autism can point to things, but doesn’t use that ability to draw another person’s attention to it.
Ideally, children should be observed in their everyday environment, for example at home or in daycare.
Diagnosis of autism is unlikely to occur within just one examination date, especially if the child is still very small.
Close monitoring of development and regular assessments are necessary to get a full overview. But regardless of a definitive diagnosis of autism or autistic spectrum, help can be offered to the children and their parents. Infants suspected of a developmental disorder (autism autistic spectrum) may receive services tailored to each needs. Parents can be instructed on how to support their child in the respective stages of development.