Getting a Diagnosis

Getting a formal autism diagnosis can mean access to the right support. Learn more about diagnostic process for children and adults.

Getting a Diagnosis in Childhood

Following an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, you can access family supports.

Autism Ontario believes in the importance of early screening and diagnosis as they result in earlier and therefore more effective intervention. For a list of the indicators of autism, click here.

Parents are often given reassurance that the concerns they have about their child are unnecessary or unfounded, that the child is going through a "phase" or is just a little delayed for their age. Trust your instincts! If, after seeing your doctor and/or assessment team, you still have concerns, ask to be referred elsewhere for another opinion. Remember, parents, family members or other caregivers of children on the autism spectrum are usually first to notice delays in the child meeting the usual developmental milestones or differences in the ability to speak, make eye contact, play with other children or interact socially.

If you think your child may have autism, there are two options to pursue a diagnostic assessment.

Option One

Make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician. Some family physicians and even pediatricians are not as familiar with autism as one might hope or expect. If your family physician or pediatrician has only limited experience with autism, they may refer you to a specialist (e.g., a developmental pediatrician), or team of professionals for a developmental assessment. A developmental assessment will look at your child's social, cognitive, communication, and motor skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder is not diagnosed based on only one factor or symptom but when a combination of specific behaviours, communication delays, and/or developmental disabilities is confirmed.

Option Two

To access information regarding a diagnosis before the age of 18 through the new Ontario Autism Program, please contact the diagnostic hub in your area or your local Ministry of Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Regional Office.

Services in Ontario are changing. Learn more about how to receive a diagnosis, access supports and services, and get funding before your child turns 18

Getting a Diagnosis in Adulthood

Assessments for autism in adulthood are becoming more common as a result of expanding diagnostic criteria and a significant increase in awareness and understanding. The most common reasons that adults seek out diagnosis and support are difficulties with social interaction and mental health. An autism diagnosis can be a validating experience and can help adults better understand themselves and their experiences. 

Autism Ontario does not provide diagnosis; however, we can provide resources to assist people in their search for a qualified provider.

Learn more about how to access adult diagnosis in Ontario.