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Autism spectrum disorders are complex and require multiple professional opinions in order to fully identify the severity of its affect on an individual. This may include some or all of the following professionals: clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, developmental pediatrician, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker or clinical therapist, play specialist and others trained in autism therapies and autism treatment.
An accurate diagnosis for autism should be based on observation of the individual’s developmental level, communication and behavior. Caregiver input and a developmental history are also key factors in identifying autism. There is not currently a medical test to determine autism. However, multiple medical tests may be ordered to rule out other possible causes for the individual’s symptoms.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), individuals falling under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) umbrella, often referred to as the autism spectrum, may have a diagnosis of any of the following:
Autistic Disorder (299.00 DSM-IV)
Aspergers Disorder (299.80 DSM-IV)
Ret’s Disorder (299.80 DSM-IV)
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (299.10 DSM-IV)
PDD-NOS (299.80 DSM-IV)
Identifying where an individual falls on the spectrum can be helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses. However, if a child is diagnosed on the spectrum, the treatment will likely be similar. All treatment should be individualized to meet the needs of the child.
The Autism Journeys diagnostic team, comprised of our licensed psychologist, licensed clinical therapist, licensed speech-language pathologist, licensed occupational therapist, licensed educators and play or social skills specialists, frequently perform diagnostic evaluations on individuals of all ages.