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An Initiative of National Trust
for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities
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What to do when you are waiting for a diagnostic assessment?

It is common for families to have to wait weeks to months for a diagnostic evaluation after a parent, doctor or teacher notices behaviours that indicate a child may be affected by Autism and many parents are troubled by this question.

Here are five things that are strongly recommended:

1. Learn more about Autism:

This will help you develop a list of questions for the visit and prepare to take action if your child is diagnosed with ASD. Read as much about Autism, gather authentic information to know more about it Click here.

2. Gather your child's information:

Collect all your child's medical records and any previous developmental or behavioural evaluations your child has received. When you go for a consultation you might also want to bring your own notes on your child's behaviour, as you observe it in different places and with different people. It can also help to jot down some thoughts on what you consider to be your child's strengths and weaknesses. If teachers have provided any feedback, it is good to carry that as well. Bring this folder of records and notes with you to the evaluation.

3. Learn what to expect at the evaluation:

Some evaluations are done by a team of specialists, others by a single professional. In general, a developmental paediatrician, child psychiatrist, child neurologist or child psychologist is the best qualified to make a diagnosis . However with training, other medical providers too can competently conduct the evaluation. Particularly in an area where there are none of the above professionals available, it is important to find out the local organisation/NGO who is equipped in making the diagnosis and also who you feel most comfortable with.

The evaluation process will involve an interview with you in addition to observation of and interaction with your child. Since there is no blood test, X-ray or radiological test that can confirm a diagnosis, the evaluation should involve direct interaction between the provider and your child.
During this evaluation, you'll be asked questions about your child's behaviour and development. In addition, you may be asked to fill out one or more "checklists." It can feel like a lot of questions! Just remember that this information helps the professional make the most accurate and helpful diagnosis.
The gold standard or most reliable way to diagnose a structured, play-based assessment called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Often the professional may perform a shorter and more informal play based assessment of your child to look at how he or she plays, interacts and communicates. Your child may also complete one or more cognitive, or "thinking skill" tests.

You should have a chance to meet with the professionals who performed your child's evaluation team to discuss the assessment and diagnosis. You should also receive their written report. For more: http://www.autismspeaks.org

4. Arrange support

Most parents find the diagnosis process emotional and even a little overwhelming. Rather than going alone, consider inviting someone you trust to accompany you and help take notes on what was said and make sure your questions get answered.

5. Get started on intervention

Whether or not your child is diagnosed with Autism, the evaluation may reveal developmental delays that would benefit from intervention services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Therapy helps, but as parents, you can help your child too.

  • Engage your child's attention by coming down to her level
  • Talk to your child in single words or small phrases: "water", "biscuit", "open"
  • Label familiar objects around the house during daily activities: "spoon", "plate", "door", "shoes"
  • Create opportunities throughout the day so that your child has to come up to you when he needs something: Keep his water glass and/or favourite toy where he can see but not grab
  • Engage him in interactive play: Hide and Seek, rolling a ball back and forth
Given below are some examples of what you can do with your child
  • Imitation: Object and Motor
  • Sing finger play songs such as the Baba Blackship, Twinkle..twinkle little star” etc....
  • Utilize musical instruments: “Let’s make music”,
  • slow down, speed up – vary the pace of a familiar song in a ‘follow me’ game
  • Block play: make identical block structures
  • Painting and drawing similar pictures, strokes, circles, lines, dot art
  • Dramatic play: feeding babies, pouring tea, driving cars or trains on tracks, hammering nails etc.
Receptive and Expressive Labelling

Use descriptive labelling into activities such as:
  • House (cup, spoon, plate, door)
  • Grocery store (orange, apple, banana)
  • Dolls (body parts, brush, and clothing)
  • Farm (animals, tractor)
  • Art: Colours, scissors, glue, markers, big crayons, little crayons
  • Books: pointing and labelling objects, letters, numbers, shapes, etc.
  • Sensory Table: put different colours of animals, shapes, sizes, common objects
  • Park/Playground: slide, swing, ball
  • Play Dough: use different coloured play dough, animal shaped cookie cutters
Receptive Instructions
  • Songs: "Twinkle twinkle" flap hands, tap legs, etc.
  • Clean up time: throw in the dustbin,
  • During activities request items, “Give me ___”
  • Ask child to get their bags/showes on the way outside or at the end of the day
  • Matching cards game
  • Puzzles with pictures underneath
  • Picture to object matching can be done as activity during play (have the child match the picture of a cow while playing with animal toys, or match the picture of a bed while playing with a doll house)
  • Utilize motivating items (i.e. bubbles, juice, trains) to address requesting/communication
  • Swing: wait to push until child makes the request
  • Door: wait to open until child makes a request
  • Lunch/Snack withhold until child makes request
  • Art: child can request glitter, glue, stickers, paint, etc.


  Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD is commonly called Autism Neuro- typical: A term used for people who do not have Autism or ASD  
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