How Is Autism Diagnosed? Tests, Symptoms, and What to Do Next

Some evidence shows that people with autism may have low levels of certain vitamins and minerals. But your doctor may suggest supplements to improve nutrition. Vitamin B and magnesium are two of the supplements most often used for people with autism. But people can overdose on these vitamins, so megavitamins should be avoided. If your child shows signs of a problem on these screenings, they’ll need a more complete evaluation. This might include hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Your doctor might want to bring in someone who specializes in autism disorders, like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist.

Women with autism use techniques such as developing a script for conversations, forcing themselves to make eye contact, or avoiding talking about subjects that interest them. Gender differences in autism have likely contributed to the misdiagnosis and under-diagnosis of autism in women. Consider whether your child’s interests are considered “age-appropriate.” Autistic people’s emotional development differs from the development of their peers, and this may result in them liking different things. Children who do not develop speech or have delayed speech may be autistic. They sometimes struggle with understanding and reacting to others’ feelings. If your child cannot walk by age 2, you should definitely have them evaluated by a doctor for autism and other disabilities.

How does autism affect girls?

Read more about Autism here.

Such children often have difficulty interpreting tone of voice or facial expressions and do not respond to others’ emotions or watch other people’s faces for cues about appropriate behavior. They appear unaware of others’ feelings toward them and of the negative impact of their behavior on other people. Treatments include behavior and communication therapies and medicines to control symptoms. Some autistic children meet their milestones later than average, leading to a diagnosis.

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Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and hair twirling, or in self-injurious behavior such as biting or head-banging. The hallmark feature of autism is impaired social interaction. Children with autism may fail to respond to their names and often avoid looking at other people.

Autism spectrum

In the second and third years, autistic children may have less frequent and less diverse babbling, consonants, words, and word combinations; their gestures are less often integrated with words. Autistic children are less likely to make requests or share experiences and more likely to simply repeat others’ words . The CDC estimated in 2015 that around 40% of autistic children do not speak at all. Autistic adults’ verbal communication skills largely depend on when and how well speech is acquired during childhood.