Getting a Diagnosis: Starting with a Pediatrician

The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 3 of Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Understanding the Diagnosis & Getting Help Mitzi Waltz, copyright 2002 by O’Reilly & Associates, Inc. For book orders/information, call 1-800-998-9938. Permission is granted to print and distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use as long as the above source is included. The information in this article is meant to educate and should not be used as an alternative for professional medical care.

Usually, the first person to hear the concerns of a young child’s parents is a pediatrician. In this age of managed care, the pediatrician takes on more importance than ever: Not only is she the doctor who knows the most about how a particular child’s development compares to the norm, but she is almost always the primary care provider (PCP) designated by health insurance plans. She generally serves as a gatekeeper to more advanced care, making referrals to medical and therapeutic specialists as needed.