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Methods to Diagnose Autism in Children

Methods to diagnose autism in children


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is revisiting the existing definition of autism spectrum disorder in a manner that is likely to have a bearing on its diagnostic characteristics. The revised diagnostic criteria may be implemented some time in 2013, in the shape of DSM V.

Doctors rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for Mental Disorders to ascertain if a person is suffering from autism. The existing version of this manual is the DSM-IV.The APA advocates that children should be examined for autism during regular visits to doctors. This enables doctors to ascertain whether or not a child has autism or any similar condition such as language disorders or avoidant personality disorder.

For a parent to detect symptoms of autism in the child, there is available the autism rating scale , which is a list of informative questions pertaining to the kid’s responses. ‘.  It is best to consult a specialized professional, such as neurologist, developmental pediatrician child psychiatrist or speech therapist, rather than relying on a general practitioner.The specialists undertake a battery of tests and screening procedures to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. Broadly, these screening criteria can be categorized as follows:

Behavioral screening

The guidelines employed by a doctor to assess the specific kind of developmental delay a child has comprise case studies, among other things. The medical history interview entails asking general questions from parents or other care givers about whether a child makes the gestures that are natural at various stages of growth, such as responding to his name, following the parents with his gaze, gesticulating to be picked up etc.

Behavioral screening also entails measuring the child against the diagnostic guidelines for autism advocated by the American Association of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).Various behavioral questionnaires may be used that are specifically designed for children below the age of three.

Clinical screening is done to observe the child’s behavior in different settings. Parents may be required to chronicle and interpret the child’s responses in varied settings.In addition, developmental and intelligence tests are conducted as the AACAP recommends that an assessment be made about whether or not a child’s developmental delays impact his cognitive power and ability to arrive at decisions.

Physical screening

The child is also be subjected to screening for any physical disability or problem. The battery of physical tests comprises measuring of head dimensions, weight, height etc.Hearing tests are performed to assess if the developmental delays or lack of language skills and social reciprocity can be attributed to hearing problems.

Doctors also conduct special tests to check the child for any lead poisoning. This could manifest itself as a specific condition called pica wherein the kid exhibits a craving for non-food items such as dirt or even paint. It is common to find that children with tardy growth carry on putting objects in their mouth long after this stage has been crossed in other children showing normal growth. This trait is generally responsible for lead poisoning in affected children.

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  1. Amazing video and extremely wohrty cause. I really want to attend this dinner I have two friends with children who have autism. They are beautiful children and so lovable. Autism needs much more funding, please open your hearts and minds to support these children, adults and families.

  2. dr vikram bennur says:

    Dear vikas,
    kindly let me know how homeopathic drugs helps the patient suffering from AUTISM.

  3. My son 2 years 10 months old. He has been told by doctor that he is affected by autism. How can be treated with him.

  4. I want a treatment from u for my 3 year old girl baby for autism . I stay in kolkata please reply

  5. Dear Sir,

    My son is two years now, he does not wave and he is not talking. His other sibling is five and he was diagnonized with autism and he is currently on homeopathy treatment.

    Am getting worried with the two years old because of his delays in development. What can I do to help him as of now.



  6. Colenthea Collins says:

    Hello Dr. Sharma,
    I am writing in reguards to my two children. I have a 5 yr old son who diagnosed with autism a year ago. He is struggling in school severely. He’s having trouble learning and his teachers can not control him. He has severe temper tantrums and will sometimes attack his teachers. He even runs and hides from them. He also has extreme anxiety which is affecting his learning and is struggling with writing due to his fine motor skills. I do not want to put him on medication, but I want him to succeed. Please help me. My 4 yr old daughter also has severe behavior disorders and her teachers also have trouble controlling her. I am planning on getting her evaluated for ADHD. pleased help me. I want to try hemopathy before I resort to medication.

  7. Hema Bhupathy says:

    Dear Dr.Sharma, I have a 3 year old son Gautham, whom I believe is on the Autism spectrum. His language and understanding is very limited for his age, eye contact is variable. His main interest is eating food. I have been praying, and when browsing, looking for answers and I have come across your website. I have a lot of hope now. I live in UK, Leeds. Please could you tell me the best way to contact. My ph is –
    0044 7828241219
    Kind regards and thankyou, hoping for a positive reply

  8. Pooja Laxmeshwar says:


    I am Pooja Laxmeshwar I live in Jersey City NJ. I have a 4yrs old son who has some symptons of autism but I do not have any certified diagnoses I sawin your websie that there is some medication for autism .therefore wanted some more information related to that .

    Thank you.

  9. Dr Suresh Kumar says:

    Dr Sharma,

    I read comments and problems written by many people regarding developmental issues of their children.

    I do have son (4yrs and 4 months) who is lacking in the development. I am writing the things which he does
    – eats independently since last 1.0yr
    – understand and responds to the most of the instructions given to him on daily basis like – switch on the fan/AC, TV. Keep toys, his books, cloths etc. at defined places.
    -tells name of the many pictures (at least 100) from his books and identify the photos of close relatives
    and family.
    – know the place for toilet and use the shower for cleaning and flush
    -loves outing like shoping mall, park, cycling etc.
    -speaks even tougher name with clear pronountiation like – capsicum, french fries, popcorn, tiger, nashpati, kurkure etc.
    -remember things, do not forget easlily.
    -possesive for few toys like car.
    – jumps on bed, many times spins
    – some time responds to our request some time do not.
    – feels bore at home,

    things which he does not show interest
    – gets bore in short span -from reading, or any other work requires attention and sitting
    -do not show interest for TV except few poems
    – do not play with strangers, do not have many friends; but on insist shake hands and says namastey
    -do not want to speak if his desired things ( like food, toys, water etc.) are under his approach
    – speaks only in single words like – pani (water), khana (food), fruit name etc.
    – do not have good grips while wrting but can climb on very high almirahs and on ladders in the park
    – have not learnt reading or writing in the play school he is going

    We request your help and suggestions that how to bring him on par with his age kids.

  10. ramkumar says:

    Dear sir,
    this is ramkumar from salem (tamilnadu), i have 3 yrs old baby(boy). he till now did not speak , he cant understand anythink .if we call his name he did not response . but he find out food and water .he find out toys something ,

    thanks &regards

  11. Hello,
    I have à 22 months old son. He hardly speaks few words and is delayed in speech for his age. He had ear tube surgery at 19 months. He had numerous chronic ear infection on til they decided to do tube surgery. Our gp referred him to audiology for hearing test and also referred to a speech therapist.
    Other things that I worry is he runs in the house looking on sides, sometimes spins in circles, grinds his teeth in sleep at night, he has lot of social anxiety and cries to scream when we attend any social gathering but is happy while grocery shopping.
    He is quite attached to his Mom n dad. He understands and follows our language Marathi and english. He eats what we eat but doesn’t drink milk.
    Do u think he has autism? Your expert opinion and advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Sincere thanks….concerned and worried mom

    • Sandhya Pattem says:

      I just read your article about autism and homeopathy, it focusses on high functioning autism, Is there any way that you can state that a child will turn high functional or not based on the behaviours he or she exhibits currently, as symptoms when young are not good predictors of outcome specially if the treatment is initiated early,
      I have a child with autism, is a 20 month old girl.
      My child is a cheerful, happy go lucky child, but as of now has no words, not fussy or cranky, is able to relate to her needs by fussing or coming to caregivers when she is in need, like when she is hungry or sleepy or has a dirty diaper, she pulls at our clothes to be held, communication is pretty much limited to this. has sensory issues where she had been mouthing every object which has reduced drastically over the last one month, but has been tensing her muscles and gives really tight hugs, turns and spins about herself, spinning has been something new. avoids eye contact with most strangers and avoids other children even in her day care and kids that she is used to. is able to engage with toys and play and is showing interest playing with blocks. loves to watch a couple of tv programs and is very particular about watching only those. food preferences have become very limited compared to when she was younger when she would want to eat anything and everything.

      Please advise, how much and in what capacity can I see a difference if I start homeo for her. Is this a curable condition per homeo principles as it is often cited to be a life long problem with no cure.

  12. Age 52. Female. Living alone. Private Service. Always depressed for last 8-10 years since mother expired. Non of the relatives take interest & therefore living alone. Now being mentally harassed at office also buy employer as well as co-worker as they are getting egoistic due to my seniority. All my gold was taken during day time robberty resulting in extra depression. Still 6 yrs to retirement. Often experience acidity, irritable bowel syndrome dut to depression. Sometimes my spondylitis also gives pain.
    Suggest proper homeopathic treatment to get out of depression as well as treatment for spondylitis pain.

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