Parental Concerns About Autism Often Dismissed by Doctors

Receiving an early autism diagnosis remains a concern for parents because new research shows that pediatricians are still dismissing parental concerns about autism.

“In a study looking at the experiences of children diagnosed with autism as compared to those with intellectual disability and developmental delay, researchers found that doctors were 14 percent less likely to take a proactive approach when families cited concerns about autism.”

The study found that doctors often reassured patients that their child would grow out of it rather than refer them to a specialist or send them for developmental testing.

For children who were diagnosed later with autism, parents had expressed concerned to their doctor when the child was 2, a whole year earlier than parents of children with other delays. “Nonetheless, among families surveyed, children with autism were not diagnosed until age 5, on average, even though kids with the developmental disorder can generally by identified by age 3.”

The results of this study show that doctors may need more education and training to better respond to parent concerns related to autism. .

Not sure if you should be concerned about your child? Have a look at either Could It Be Autism? or Does My Child Have Autism? Both books list the early warning signs, tell parents what to do, and how to get the right kind of help from doctors, counselors, therapists, and other professionals. Parents can also take the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised) test to determine whether or not their child should be seen by a professional.

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