There is a difference between a medical diagnosis, an educational assessment (for special education services) and a Regional Center assessment. It is possible to have a medical diagnosis and not qualify for services. We recommend you seek out a formal medical diagnosis through your health care provider as soon as possible. A medical diagnosis may give you access to certain services covered under your health insurance, and it may provide an outside source of information if you choose to pursue services through the school or Regional Center.
There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the individual’s communication, behavior, and developmental levels. Because many of the behaviors associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms being exhibited. A developmental pediatrician, a psychiatrist or psychologist, or a neurologist can assist in making a diagnosis.