Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


How Important is an Official Diagnosis?

“Our son is slightly quirky and eccentric. We believe it is high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. How important is it to get a diagnosis? What things should we look at with regard to past behaviors or symptoms that may confirm he has it?”

Getting an accurate diagnosis is important in getting appropriate treatment for your son. Without an official diagnosis, he’s in limbo, legally and financially. With a diagnosis, doors to treatment open.

Your physician will be asking you for some information about your son’s past. A careful history should be obtained, including: 
  • medical and family history
  • information related to pregnancy and neonatal period
  • early development and characteristics of development

Your physician should review any previous records, including previous evaluations. The information incorporated and the results should be compared in order to obtain a sense of course of development. Also, several other specific areas should be directly examined because of their importance in the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism (Asperger’s), including:
  • social development
  • self-concept
  • patterns of attachment of family members
  • past and present problems in social interaction
  • mood presentation
  • emotional development
  • development of motor skills, language patterns, and areas of special interest (e.g., favorite occupations, unusual skills, collections)
  • development of friendships
  • careful history of onset/recognition of the problems

Getting appropriate treatment for your son depends on having an accurate diagnosis. If your physician is reluctant to give you an official diagnosis, ask him/her why. Don't be afraid to ask for a referral to a specialist, or to a team of specialists for diagnosis. If the verdict is that your son doesn’t have High-Functioning Autism, then move on, enjoying your slightly quirky, eccentric boy. On the other hand, if the physician or specialists agree on a diagnosis, you now have a tool that will help ensure that your son receives the treatment that he needs.

Personal One-on-One "Parent Coaching" from Mark Hutten, M.A.


•    Anonymous said... A diagnosis is crucial if you want an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for him at school. Our school told us our son was on the spectrum, but they couldn't do anything officially until we had a diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said... even then the school will be difficult my daughter had a statement and they ignored it
•    Anonymous said... Even with the diagnosis my son's school still is being difficult about giving the IEP. it's been an ongoing battle. I think the diagnosis is crucial for you & your sons awareness.
•    Anonymous said... My son is not yet diagnosed but have to say the school have been fab.he shared a T.A in some lessons.he has a buddy for lunchtimes and sees a teacher after the last lesson to help with his notes for homework.i did go in a lot and said I had read this and that and surely it helps everyone if he isn't kicking off and they worked with us.good luck.
•    Anonymous said... Official diagnosis, it would appear, is entirely dependant upon funding.
•    Anonymous said... time spent obtaining a diagnosis in many cases is better spent on alternative treatment. we did GAPS and biomed, plus heaps of other stuff, and never ended up getting the diagnosis!

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