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Understanding Autism Diagnosis: A Guide For Parents In Illinois

Updated:

3/22/2023

A Parent's Guide To Autism Diagnosis In Illinois

For parents, receiving a diagnosis for their child can be overwhelming and may raise many questions. In this blog, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help parents navigate the process of understanding autism diagnosis, available resources, and support services in Illinois. Contact us at (630) 300-3400 or visit our locations and learn more about our services!

Recognizing Early Signs And Symptoms:

To obtain an autism diagnosis, parents should seek a comprehensive diagnostic assessment conducted by qualified professionals experienced in diagnosing autism. In Illinois, there are several options for obtaining a diagnosis, including pediatricians, child psychologists, child psychiatrists, pediatric neurologists, or developmental pediatricians. It is important to choose a professional who specializes in ASD and utilizes evidence-based assessment tools.

Seeking Diagnostic Assessment:

Another key aspect of ABA therapy is improving social interaction. ABA therapy can help children with autism learn how to initiate and maintain social interactions, such as engaging in conversation, taking turns, and making eye contact. By practicing these skills in a structured and supportive environment, children can gain confidence in their social abilities.

Diagnostic Evaluation Process:

The diagnostic evaluation process typically involves a thorough assessment of the child’s developmental history, behavioral observations, and standardized assessments. Professionals may gather information from parents, caregivers, teachers, and other relevant individuals involved in the child’s life. The assessment process may also include direct observation of the child’s behavior, cognitive testing, and speech and language evaluations.

a mother playing blocks with her daughter
Parents Guide to Understanding Autism Diagnosis

Diagnostic Criteria:

The diagnostic criteria for ASD are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). To receive an autism diagnosis, the child must exhibit persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. The assessment will evaluate the child’s behavior and functioning across various domains to determine if the criteria are met.

Accessing Services And Support:

Upon receiving an autism diagnosis, parents in Illinois have access to a range of services and supports for their child. Early intervention services, provided through the Illinois Early Intervention (EI) program, can offer therapies, educational support, and parent training for children from birth to three years old. For children over three years of age, special education services, individualized education plans (IEPs), and related therapies can be provided through the public school system.

Illinois Autism Resources:

Illinois offers a variety of resources and organizations dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and their families. The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) provides information, resources, and support for individuals with autism and their families throughout the state. Local Autism Societies, support groups, and online communities can also be valuable sources of information, networking opportunities, and emotional support for parents. Be sure to check out Resource Center for Autism & Developmental Delays (RCADD), as well as Grupo Salto, for any Spanish-speaking families in our communities.

Collaborating With Professionals:

Collaborating with professionals, such as behavior analysts, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists, can greatly benefit children with autism. These professionals can provide evidence-based interventions, develop individualized treatment plans, and offer guidance on behavior management strategies and effective communication techniques.

Understanding autism diagnosis is a crucial step for parents in Illinois who suspect their child may have ASD. Recognizing early signs, seeking a comprehensive diagnostic assessment, accessing services and support, and collaborating with professionals can provide a solid foundation for promoting the well-being and development of children with autism. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Reach out to local resources, support networks, and professionals who can assist you every step of the way in navigating the autism diagnosis process and beyond.

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