Currently there is no medical test that can diagnose autism, so we must rely on specially trained professionals (physicians and psychologists) to administer behavioral evaluations specific to autism.
Typically a pediatrician or other healthcare professional will implement the Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) which is a list of questions about your child and the answers indicate whether a specialist should further evaluate him or her. It should be noted, however, that not all healthcare professionals are appropriately trained on recognizing the signs and symptoms of autism. Thus, if you have concerns, urge your doctor to refer your child to a specialist. If he or she disagrees, always trust your instinct and find a specialist to conduct further testing.
Typically multiple disciplines are involved in a diagnostic evaluation including a combination of some or all of the following professionals: pediatrician, psychologist, speech and language pathologist, and occupational therapist. During the evaluation, the team will conduct systematic behavioral observations and assessments to determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses.