How to Handle Your Child's Autism Diagnosis

Gather a Team of Doctors Together

Treating autism is a team approach, with parents as the team leaders. A child with autism may need to see several doctors and therapists who will need to stay updated on any special problems. Depending on a child's problems this team might include a pediatrician who specializes in developmental behavior, a neurologist, a pediatric gastroenterologist, a doctor with expertise in biomedical interventions and autism treatment, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist, to name a few. Dr. Compart strongly advocates that parents secure medical doctors first as one of the first steps.

"The child could have traditional medical problems," she says. "Does your child need his hearing or vision tested? Does he need an EEG to look for seizures? Thyroid or genetic testing? You need someone who will think about your child from a traditional medical standpoint. Get that appointment; get on that waiting list. If your life is flexible enough for cancellations, get on that cancellation list." Simultaneously, look into finding educational experts, therapists and a biomedical specialist. Special-education experts help parents navigate the complexities of getting appropriate state or county-funded educational services for a child with autism. Biomedical specialists can offer treatments that address autism from a biological, chemical, and medical standpoint by exploring diets, vitamins, and supplements to help regulate the child's biochemistry, but these treatments often require more money and financial resources.

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