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Get your child screened for autism

The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.

Did your review of “Step 1: Learn the signs” raise further concern? Autism Speaks encourages you to ask your child’s healthcare provider to screen your child for autism without delay.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends autism screening at all 18- and 24-month well-child visits and anytime a parent or doctor has concerns.

But you don’t have to wait. You can request an autism screening any time from your child’s doctor and/or your state’s Early Intervention program. Such a screening does not diagnose autism. Rather, it looks further at the behaviors that are considered “red flags” for autism.

Meanwhile, you may want to complete The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™) on this website. (See link below.) This scientifically validated screening test assesses autism risk in children ages 16 to 30 months. It takes just a few minutes to complete, and you can print and take the results to your doctor.

Take the M-CHAT-R here

Talk with your healthcare provider

Depending on the screening results, your doctor may refer your child to a specialist for a full diagnostic evaluation for autism. However, you don’t need an autism diagnosis for your child to begin receiving services for related developmental delays or learning challenges. So keep in mind that you can begin accessing services to help your child while you wait on a full evaluation.

Also see “What should we look for in an evaluation for autism” and “Five things to do while waiting for an autism evaluation.”

Again, regardless of whether your child receives an autism diagnosis, he or she is entitled to federally mandated services if screening identifies developmental delays or learning challenges.

Step 3: Access services

Step 1: Learn the signs

Also see these Autism Speaks Tool Kits (available for free download):

Contact the Autism Response Team

Need personal guidance? Members of the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team are trained to connect individuals and families with information, tools and resources.

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