Northern Colorado Autism Association
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Who makes the diagnosis?

Whether you or your child's pediatrician is the first to suspect autism, your child will need to be referred to someone who specializes in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. This may be a developmental pediatrician, a psychiatrist or psychologist, and other professionals that are better able to observe and test your child in specific areas. This multidisciplinary assessment team may include some or all of the following professionals (they may also be involved in treatment programs):

  • Developmental pediatrician - Treats health problems of children with developmental delays or handicaps.

  • Child psychiatrist - A medical doctor who may be involved in the initial diagnosis. He/she can also prescribe medication and provide help in behavior, emotional adjustment and social relationships.

  • Clinical psychologist - Specializes in understanding the nature and impact of developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders. May perform psychological and assessment tests, as well as help with behavior modification and social skills training.

  • Occupational therapist - Focuses on practical, self-help skills that will aid in daily living, such as dressing and eating. May also work on sensory integration, coordination of movement, and fine motor skills.

  • Physical therapist - Helps to improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves to develop muscle strength, coordination and motor skills.

  • Speech/language therapist - Involved in the improvement of communication skills, including speech and language.

  • Social worker - May provide counseling services or act as case manager helping to arrange services and treatments.
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