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Morgantown, WV: 'Because it is so common' autism dx can take months: doctor

Sept 19, 2023, WVNews, Morgantown, WV: What to do while waiting for your child’s autism diagnosis

Waiting for an autism diagnosis can be a stressful and uncertain time for parents. The process can take weeks or even months, and there is no guarantee that a diagnosis will be made. In the meantime, there are things parents can do to help their child and themselves.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that one in 36 children in the United States have autism,” Jenna Wallace, Psy.D., WVU Medicine Children’s Neurodevelopmental Center pediatric psychologist, said. “Unfortunately, because it is so common, wait times for autism evaluations can be from six to 12 months, depending on your area and who you’re referred to.”…

There are some things parents can do while waiting for their child’s autism assessment or diagnosis:

Talk to your pediatrician about referrals for speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services, and/or physical therapy, based on your child’s needs.

Get on evaluation waitlists for multiple reputable centers.

If your child is under the age of three, there are statewide programs, like West Virginia Birth to Three, that can provide therapy services in-home and complete evaluations before the child is seen by a specialist.

For older children, parents can begin the process of evaluation through the school system to determine the appropriateness of an individualized education program that will also provide access to services, including speech therapy and developmental support services.

“Early intervention is key for a variety of concerns, but especially when we think about development,” Dr. Wallace said. “If you have questions, West Virginia Birth to Three, your pediatrician, and other outpatient therapy providers can help give you the guidance that you need to feel confident about your child’s growth.”…


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