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What to Know About Your Child's Autism Care Team

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on November 24, 2021

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need extra care. They typically require different kinds of health professionals who may form a care team that focuses on your child’s physical, psychological, educational, and nutritional needs. 

Your child's autism care team is a combination of certified autism specialists and different licensed professionals.

Who Qualifies to Be on Your Child's Autism Care Team?

A team of autism specialists is involved in ensuring your child's optimal care:

Board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) 

These specialists provide autism behavioral services by conducting assessments. The results are then used to develop programs for children to help them learn the language and social skills. This helps the children overcome their behavioral challenges. 

BCBAs also teach the child's family members about how they can perform behavior interventions in different situations.

Psychologist

A psychologist tries to read your child's social and self-care abilities and diagnose their condition. They also examine your child's language and learning skills to evaluate whether they have ASD or not.

Psychologists also suggest therapies for your child. Some also work with the family to help the child improve the skills required in daily life. 

These specialists don't prescribe medications.

Psychometrist

A psychometrist works under a psychologist to understand your child's psychology. They give psychological tests and usually perform the documentation of the test results.

School psychologist

These individuals help your child improve their behavior in school. School psychologists work closely with the child's family and the school. They monitor your child's progress towards improving their coping skills and then provide evaluations.

Care coordinator

These individuals are family-focused. They assist the family members in finding necessary resources and services to cater to their child's needs. These experts also provide emotional support to the family members, as well. A care coordinator is usually a social worker or a licensed counselor. They could also be a pediatrician specializing in autism.

Developmental pediatrician

Children with autism have many developmental issues while growing up. 

A developmental pediatrician diagnoses, monitors, advises, and develops treatment plans for these children. They also work with adolescents and their families and help them cope with numerous developmental, behavioral, and learning problems.

Geneticist

Autism can be occur to several reasons, including family history. A geneticist suggests tests to examine your child's condition, evaluate its causes, and develop possible treatments. These specialists explain the causes of inherited health conditions that impact the development of an individual.

Genetic counselor

These specialists are specially trained to find out the causes of many genetic conditions, including autism. A genetic counselor is trained in medical genetics and counseling. They work closely with the child's family and help them understand the causes of their child's condition. 

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists work for the betterment of your child's behavioral and developmental health issues. 

They examine the child's condition, diagnose it, and give suggestions for the treatment. They also provide services on their own and can also prescribe medications.

Neurologist

Neurologists look after the problems linked to your child's central nervous system (CNS). These specialists can diagnose, treat, and suggest care strategies for children with autism and epilepsy.

Gastroenterologist

These specialists identify and treat gastric issues of your child. These problems usually include digestive and feeding problems, along with toilet training.

Nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners work under professional doctors and make sure to provide medical care and medicine to autistic children. They work with the families and the children and answer the questions related to their child's condition and development.

They also help families understand their child's condition. Then, with early diagnosis, they develop a plan and ensure follow-up care.

Audiologist

Audiologists help your child's hearing and balance problems if they have speech problems during development. 

Nutritionist

These specialists examine the child's weight and growth to determine a daily diet plan. These decisions are usually made according to your child's medical history. Nutritionists provide a guideline to give the child a balanced and healthy diet.

Physical therapist

A physical therapist helps your child build physical strength in order to improve their coordination and mobility.

Speech-language pathologists

Speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, improve your child's speech, language, and communication problems. They create alternative methods for the child to express his or her feelings. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:
Autism Speaks: "Assembling Your Team After a Diagnosis."
Car Autism Roadmap: "WHO IS ABLE TO DIAGNOSE AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?"
Marcus Autism Center: "Your Child's Care Team."
Therapeutic Pathways: "Who Can Diagnose Autism?"

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