Getting a Diagnosis
Getting a formal autism diagnosis can mean access to the right support. This section explains the diagnostic process for children and adults.
Following an ASD Diagnosis, click here.
Getting a Diagnosis in Childhood
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 ASD, 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 with ASD 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.
Make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician. Some family physicians and even pediatricians are not as familiar with ASD as one might hope or expect. If your family physician or pediatrician has only limited experience with ASD 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. ASD 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.
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.
Remember, services in Ontario are changing. For more information on how to receive a diagnosis, access supports and services and get funding, before your child turns 18, please click here.
Getting a Diagnosis Later in Life:
In some individuals, ASD may go unnoticed for years and be diagnosed only during an educational impasse or a life crisis which puts a person in contact with professionals able to recognize the disorder. Autism may also go unnoticed when a person has other disabilities.