Autism diagnosis for children

Autism affects 2.7% of children in the U.S.

When getting an autism diagnosis for your child, it’s important to obtain an evaluation by health care professionals who are experienced in identifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across a range of ages and symptom severity. It would be helpful to find someone who has evaluated hundreds of individuals, not just a few here and there.

Ideally, the team should include a medical specialist such as a developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist or neurologist. In addition, it should include a psychologist with expertise in diagnosing autism, a speech-language pathologist and possibly an occupational therapist.

At specialized autism centers such as those in the Autism Speaks Autism Care Network (ACNet), a diagnostic team evaluates each child. Find an ACNet site near you.

The Autism Speaks Resource Guide can also help you find providers near you. If you need additional support, contact our Autism Response Team at 1-888-AUTISM2 (1-888-288-4762) or

If you have concerns about your child’s development:

Infographic on What to expect during an autism evaluation

What to expect during an autism evaluation

  • The physician’s exam should focus on possible medical and/or genetic issues associated with your child’s symptoms.
  • The psychologist administers developmental and cognitive tests.
  • The speech-language pathologist evaluates communication and social skills.
  • The occupational therapist can further evaluate sensory and motor issues.

Following the diagnostic evaluation, the team should provide the family with comprehensive feedback, including a written report that fully explains all test results. This feedback session and report should be presented in understandable language.

Learn more about what to expect during an autism evaluation.

While you’re waiting

Download Autism Speaks First Concern to Action Tool Kit. Also see, Five things to do while waiting for an autism evaluation.

What to do after an autism diagnosis

Now that you have the diagnosis, you might be wondering where you go from here. Knowledge is power, particularly in the days after an autism diagnosis. Check out these resources:

Finding support is equally important. Join our private Facebook group, Navigating A New Autism Diagnosis – An Autism Speaks Community, created to bring together parents, guardians, family members, care providers, autistic people and anyone seeking information on how to best navigate a new diagnosis.

Contact the Autism Response Team

Autism Speaks' Autism Response Team can help you with information, resources and opportunities.

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