As parents we never want to believe that our children could possibly have a learning or developmental problem. BUT when it comes to Autism the earlier you find out the better for the child in the long run. Ideally you would want to get an autism diagnosis as early as 2 years.
Autism Spectrum Disorder appears in infancy and early childhood and causes delays in many basic areas of development. The most obvious will be a speech delay. The way the child plays and interacts with other will also be visible from as young as 18 months.
Autism is however a spectrum disorder and the way it presents itself in each child is very different. Some children with Autism have mild impairments whilst others will have more severe impairments. However every person diagnosed with Autism in South Africa will have some degree of delay in the following areas:
- Speech and Communication Development
- Social and Emotional Development
- Repetitive or Restrictive Behaviour
Steps you can take to get an autism diagnosis:
- Contact Autism South Africa they assist families in accessing assessment and diagnostic services by qualified professionals (you can log onto their website to download the form)
- Government Hospitals / State Hospital Neurodevelopment Clinics will also be able to assist with Autism Screening
- For private clients seeking diagnosis you can contact your local Development Paediatrician
- For private clients – you can also consult with an Educational Psychologist if the child is a bit older (school going and needs an educational assessment)
- A good Speech Therapist or Occupational Therapist would also be a good place to start. They will in turn refer you to a relevant medical professional.