Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Many scientists believe that autism is a condition linked to genetics.
But, as of yet, no one knows exactly what causes autism.
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be a little bit tricky. There are no blood tests, brain scans, or other tests that can diagnose autism.
Autism has many characteristics that can be associated with other mental illnesses. And because of that, this neurodevelopmental disorder is often misdiagnosed with other mental illnesses.
But who diagnoses autism? Is it a psychiatrist? A primary care physician? Or can a neurologist diagnose autism?
In this article, we will share with you which doctors diagnose autism.
Can A Neurologist Diagnose Autism?
Yes, neurologists can diagnose autism. There are many types of neurologists, and the ones that diagnose autism are generally pediatric neurologists.
But they are not the only medical doctors that can do so. Other medical doctors can diagnose such as Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians, Child Psychologists, and Child Psychiatrists.
How Is Autism Diagnosed?
As previously mentioned, autism is not diagnosed through medical tests such as brain scans, etc. Autism is diagnosed in specific ways, such as:
- Observing the patient
- Interviewing the patient
- Cognitive and language ability tests
- Interviewing adults associated with the patient such as:
- Other adults
Now let us talk about the doctors who can diagnose autism in children.
Pediatric neurologists are neurologists whose treatment scope focuses on children with nervous system conditions. And because autism is a neurodevelopmental condition common in children, they are the ones who provide a diagnosis.
They can diagnose autism by excluding other neurological disorders that may be causing autism.
Child Psychologists And Child Psychiatrists
Child psychologists focus more on social, emotional, and mental development. They study a child’s behavior from the prenatal period through adolescence.
Meanwhile, child psychiatrists are medical doctors who provide diagnoses and treatment for behavioral disorders in children. Unlike psychologists, they can prescribe medications to treat mental disorders in children.
Since autism is a neurodevelopmental condition common in children, both child psychologists and psychiatrists can provide diagnoses for it. These medical professionals can diagnose autism since they are familiar with the condition due to their education.
They can also help in providing treatment for autism. These may include medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both, along with other forms of treatment.
Developmental pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing autism and other developmental issues.
Autism is still a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, and treatment is not straightforward. But even though that is the case, it is still remarkable that there has been an advancement in knowledge concerning this condition and other conditions.
All in all, those are the medical professionals and doctors who can provide diagnosis and treatment for autism. To learn what other conditions a neurologist can diagnose, check out our article “What Can A Neurologist Diagnose?”