Screening for Autism

In many countries paediatricians will start screening a child for signs of a developmental or communication delay or challenge from their first visit.   This is done by observation of the child.  Whilst all children should receive formalized ASD of development delay screening at their 18- and 24-month clinic visits.  This is sadly not the case in South Africa and many other countries in the world.

ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months.  In most cases Autism can be reliable diagnosed by age 2 year.  However worldwide – many children do not receive a formal diagnosis until they are around 4 or even 5 years of age.

There is currently not a medial test that can diagnose an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  ASD is diagnosed by observation and often a multi-disciplinary team gets involved during the autism screening or autism assessment.

Pre-schools are often the first to notice that a child is showing unusual behaviours and may recommend that the parent consult with a Development Paediatrician, a Child Neurologist, Child Psychologist, Speech Therapist or Occupational Therapist.

Whilst it can be very emotional for the parents to consult with a specialist, we urge you to trust the process because the school, the pre-school or early childhood development centre only has the best interest of the child at heart and they will not ask you to see a Paediatrician, Neurologist or Therapist if they did not honestly believe it is needed.

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Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.