Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Getting that Initial Referral

I have got quite a few private messages in regards to how to go about getting an initial referral when autism is suspected. First off, if you suspect autism you should go and see your regular pediatrician. The regular pediatrician is typically the individual who should make the referral to either a developmental pediatrician or a neuro-psychologist. These individuals are well versed in autism spectrum disorder and disorders that are similar. It is important to note that wait times to get into these individuals may vary. For example, it took approximately nine months from start to finish with my son. At our initial appointment with the developmental pediatrician he was highly suspicious of autism. He asked that my son’s teachers and my husband and I complete a variety of inventories. We then had a follow up appointment with the developmental pediatrician after he received and scored all of the inventories. At the follow up appointment he reiterated that it looked like autism. I requested that an ADOS (autism diagnostic observation schedule) be done to confirm the diagnosis. The developmental pediatrician then referred us to a neuro psychologist that he worked with closely to have this test administered. We then needed to go through the same process by having an initial appointment then the test needed to be administered and then we finally needed an appointment to discuss the results. It was a long exhaustive process, but fortunately we were blessed to be able to work with amazing providers.

If you are suspicious of autism, I highly recommend that you start this process early. The ADOS is the gold standard when diagnosing autism. Not everyone administers this test, so the wait times may be extended if you have to be re-referred. This is what happened in my son’s case. I would also recommend getting on a cancelation list and calling as often as possible while you are waiting for an appointment. The process can be long and daunting, but it is so worth it to start the process early if you are at all suspicious. I hope that this information was helpful to those of you that are in the early stages of having a child who you suspect may be on the spectrum.    

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