The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages doctors to be aware of the signs of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and to be on the lookout for these signs during every well child visit.
At the same time, the Academy urges parents to always let their pediatricians know of any concerns they may have about their child’s behavior and development.
The AAP recommends autism-specific screening when children are at 18 and 24 months of age. However, children should be evaluated at any age if a parent or professional has concern about the possibility of an ASD.
Early Intervention for Children Ages 0-3
If ASD is suspected or diagnosed, parents should seek a referral for early intervention and local specialists (like speech therapy or social skills training). Early intervention programs are specific for children zero to three years of age.
Intervention for Children Above Age 3
Above the age of three, a referral should be made to a local school district that is skilled at the education and care of these children. Parents should make an effort to become as familiar as possible with available treatments and programs in their community, and support their child in learning the skills needed to succeed in the real world. See Individualized Education Program (IEP).
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