Objective: This paper provides clinical guidance supported by the literature on conducting diagnostic evaluations for young children suspected of having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method: Authors provided a summary of clinical recommendations and evidence-based strategies for providing diagnostic evaluations for young children suspected of having ASD that are supported by the existing literature. Results: ASD is a complex condition that typically presents in the first couple years of a child’s life. While many children can be accurately diagnosed by age 2, the majority of children are diagnosed much later. This article provides recommendations for evidence-based clinical practices to support accurate early identification and diagnosis in young children with autism. Recommended practices and measures for screening, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, and differential diagnosis of ASD in early childhood are discussed. Conclusions: Early identification of ASD is important to promote improved outcomes related to early intervention. There are a variety of tools and practices available to support neuropsychologists in providing accurate early diagnosis and appropriate developmental monitoring for children suspected of ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions. There is a need for continued efforts regarding awareness of ASD in early childhood and targeted training in ASD for neuropsychologists and other disciplines who support families of young children with disabilities.
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- Autism spectrum disorder
- diagnostic evaluation
- differential diagnosis
- early identification
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article