Worried That Your Child Has Autism? How Can You Choose A Pediatrician?

If you're like many parents, you may not be confident in your ability to distinguish between normal toddler or preschooler behavior and actions that can indicate autism. However, parental intuition is very rarely wrong, and your early worries about autism could be determined to be well-founded after a few visits to a pediatrician who has time to observe your child's behavior and interactions with others. On the other hand, even getting your child to a pediatrician in the first place can be a challenge if he or she is especially strong-willed and resistant to anything out of his or her normal routine. Here is more about choosing a pediatrician for an autistic child, as well as what you'll want to keep in mind when embarking on a treatment path.

What should you consider when choosing a pediatrician?

Even if you're not sure your child has autism, it's generally a good idea to select a pediatrician who at least treats patients with autism (even if he or she doesn't specialize in it). Having someone familiar with the signs of autism and the success rates of various approaches to treatment can be invaluable when it comes to getting a solid diagnosis and putting your child on a treatment path.

You may also want to interview pediatricians before your first appointment with your child just to get an idea of the bedside manner presented so that you can judge how your child may react. Some children may open up much more to exuberant, joyful pediatricians, while others could prefer a more reserved but gentle approach. Exposing your child to someone who makes him or her feel comfortable on the first visit can go a long way toward improving the overall atmosphere of the visit and the ease with which future visits can take place.

What treatment options can help your child expand his or her skills?

If your child is placed on the autism spectrum, there will be a wide variety of treatment plans available -- from interactive one-on-one therapy that can help him or her focus on motor skills, to playgroups where social skills will be emphasized and your child can build empathy and begin to understand others' emotions. Keeping your pediatrician in the loop on the therapies your child is receiving can be a great way to monitor their progression, especially since it can be hard to judge this yourself when you see your child on a daily basis.