How to Test for Autism in Children


As a behavioral disability that covers a wide spectrum of symptoms, testing for autism requires patience and a compassionate understanding of the disorder. Simple observation of your child from infancy through childhood is the best method for an initial diagnosis. This includes paying attention to your child's motor skills, social interactions and ability to communicate. While your findings can be informative, it is essential to confirm your hypothesis with a doctor before taking any medical steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Observe your child for the first year of his life to determine if further he needs further testing. Look for signs of inability to interact with you or others. This includes not smiling, lack of traditional baby noises (babbling, laughing, for example), little or no eye contact and impaired motor skills. Use a notebook to record any pertinent observations.

  • Observe your child past infancy, determining whether she meets at least six of the following criteria doctors look for in patients with autism. These the inability to utilize non-verbal social cues (such as eye contact, gestures) and failure to sustain relationships with peers. They also cover alack of desire to share enjoyment with others. These cues also note a preference to solitary activities over group ones and delayed language development, the inability to sustain conversation with others and repetitive use of idiosyncratic language. If your child shows a lack of imaginative or imitative play appropriate to age level, sustained and intense preoccupation with one interest, excessive motor mannerisms -- such as finger tapping and kicking -- inflexible devotion to irregular routines and persistent obsession with parts of objects, you may need further professional insight.

  • Schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician to discuss your observations and create a treatment plan.

  • Schedule an EEG (Electroencephalogram) if your child's doctor confirms your worries. This test is relatively inexpensive and uses non-invasive measurements of brain activity to determine the health and development of a brain.

  • Schedule an MRI and genetic tests. Use the MRI to determine brain health and the genetic tests to measure genetic abnormalities.

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  • Photo Credit Doctor examines the patient image by Ella from
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