Signs and Symptoms
ASD begins very early in a child’s life, with signs and symptoms typically emerging by age 3. Emerging research suggests that it may be possible to diagnose ASD prior to age 2. Regular screening for development throughout the first few years of life provides the greatest opportunity for a child with ASD to receive an early diagnosis and appropriate intervention.
Age-specific developmental checklists from the CDC’s “Act Early” program can be found here.
Because ASD is a spectrum disorder, symptoms and severity vary tremendously from person to person. In addition, there is no medical test (like a blood test) to provide a diagnosis. As a result, it is important that evaluations be conducted by professionals who have been specially trained and are experienced in conducting diagnostic evaluations for possible ASD.
There is no cure for ASD. However, research shows that early diagnosis and appropriate intervention services offer a child with ASD the best opportunity to achieve his or her maximum potential. Services are based upon your child’s individual needs, and may include behavioral therapy as well as other services to help your child talk, interact with others, and develop independent living skills. Early Intervention (EI) is a program through the Illinois Department of Humans Services for children under the age of 36 months who are at risk of having developmental delays. To get more information about the EI program in your community, click here.
If your child is over 36 months old, even if not old enough for kindergarten or to be enrolled in a public school, contact your local elementary school, school district office, or TAP Partner to find out how to have your child evaluated for school-provided services. Click here to find your local TAP Partner.
There are many other treatment options available for individuals with ASD. When evaluating different options, you may find it helpful to review the suggestions on this tip sheet.
This page contains a compilation of information provided by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).