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Autism: Making the Diagnosis

With no medical tests available, diagnosing autism requires careful observation and screening.

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If your child is at high risk for having an autism spectrum disorder because a parent or a sibling has been diagnosed, be aware that more intense screening or earlier screening may be needed.

If an autism spectrum disorder is suspected, you may be referred to a developmental pediatrician or another health care specialist.

Although hearing a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can be upsetting, the earlier the diagnosis is made, the earlier the interventions can begin, according to the CDC. If the diagnosis is delayed, the chance to intervene early and improve your child's life is reduced or lost.  

(From CNN: How do you know if your child has autism? Watch CNN's video.)

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Reviewed on March 27, 2008
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