Why should patients be referred to autism specialists for a diagnostic evaluation for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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To administer tools for the diagnosis of autism and related conditions in a reliable and valid manner requires extensive training and experience. Therefore, unless they have wide experience with children with autism and understand the concepts implicit in the diagnostic criteria and rating scales, pediatricians and other clinicians are advised to refer patients with possible autism to experienced clinicians for definitive diagnostic evaluations.

Delayed diagnosis of autistic disorder and related conditions is a serious problem, because early initiation of treatment increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Many parents report raising concerns to their pediatricians about the patient's development in the first months and years and being told only that the child will outgrow the problem.

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