Autism - Exams and Tests
Other lab tests may be done under specific
circumstances. These tests include:
Chromosomal analysis, which may be done
if intellectual disability is present or there is a family history of intellectual disability. For example, fragile X syndrome, which causes a range of
below-normal intelligence problems as well as autistic-like behaviors, can be
identified with a chromosomal analysis.
electroencephalograph (EEG), which is done if there
are symptoms of seizures, such as a history of staring spells or if a person
reverts to less mature behavior (developmental regression).
magnetic resonance image (MRI), which may be done if
there are signs of differences in the structure of the brain.
All doctors who see infants and
children for well-child visits should watch for early signs of developmental
Developmental screening tools, such as the Ages and
Stages Questionnaire or the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT),
can help assess behavior.
If a doctor discovers the following
obvious signs of developmental delays, the child should immediately be
- No babbling, pointing, or other gestures by
- No single words by 16 months
- No 2-word
spontaneous phrases by 24 months, with the exception of repeated phrases
Any loss of any language or
social skills at any age
If there are no obvious signs of developmental delays or
any unusual indications from the screening tests, most infants and children do
not need further evaluation until the next well-child visit.
children who have a sibling with autism should continue to be closely
monitored, because they are at increased risk for autism and other
When socialization, learning, or behavior problems develop in a person at
any time or at any age, he or she should also be evaluated.