Autism Diagnosis & Treatment

Autism Diagnosis

There’s no single test for autism, but if you notice your child has some symptoms your pediatrician can help diagnose them. At well-child visits, your pediatrician will ask screening questions and may refer you to a child psychiatrist or neuropsychologist. Those specialists can give your child an autism diagnostic assessment for an accurate diagnosis.

Early diagnosis helps your child receive the developmental help they need to progress along the spectrum and adapt to their environment.  

Developmental Monitoring

It’s important to monitor your child’s development as they learn how to interact with the world around them. Your Mercy pediatrician can help you identify the signs of autistic development. Watch for important developmental milestones like smiling, making eye contact and trying to communicate. 

Developmental Screening

Your Mercy pediatrician may give your child a developmental screening during your regular visits, or as a response to concerns, you have about your child’s development. Developmental screening asks questions about your child’s behavior and emotions, as well as where they are in learning language and motor skills.

Autism Screening Tools

There’s no blood test for diagnosing ASD, but some screening tools for autism exist. Developmental monitoring and screening can help determine if your child is autistic, but a developmental evaluation goes even further in-depth. The evaluation is typically given by a specialist like a child psychologist rather than your pediatrician.

There are many approaches to a developmental evaluation, but most evaluations include observing and testing the child on basic skills. Many developmental evaluations also involve a questionnaire for the parents to provide their thoughts on their child’s development.

Treatment for Autism

There’s no single course of treatment for autism due to the wide range of symptoms along the spectrum. What works for one child may not work for another, so at Mercy, we’ll help your child find the right treatment for their needs.

Our goal is to reduce symptoms and help your child learn and develop. Mercy offers autism treatment for children from infancy through their teenage years.

Autism Early Intervention

Treating autism as early as possible can help your child develop social and communication skills and reduce their symptoms. Because a young child’s mind is easy to influence and change, autistic children can progress quickly along the spectrum.

Intensive early intervention for young children between 18 months and 5 years of age is based on the Applied Behavior Analysis method. Our treatments are led by Mercy’s certified speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and board-certified behavioral analysts.

Treatment is just as important outside the doctor’s office as it is inside. Parent involvement is a huge part of early intervention because you’ll regularly practice newly learned skills at home. 

Behavioral Skills Therapy

Behavioral skills are important for every child to learn, but autistic children can have trouble picking up on these skills naturally. Therapy can help your child improve social communication or augmentative and alternative communication.

Social Communication – To promote social interaction and communication and to enhance empathy. Therapy includes learning with role-playing and social interaction to help form positive social bonds.

Augmentative and alternative communication – For children with severe communication challenges. Therapy includes speech and occupational therapy to develop language skills and alternate means of communication.

Mercy will coordinate and design an autism treatment program as an individual as your child, which can include occupational, speech and language therapy, behavior analysis and nutritional guidance. We’re dedicated to helping your child reach their full potential.

Though not all services are available in all areas, we’ll work with you to find the right treatment for your needs.

Autism Resources & Support

Find Help for Autism

Mercy offers comprehensive services for autism across most communities.

Find a behavioral health clinic near you.