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Talking to Your Doctor About Autism

Your child has a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your experience with autism. Talk openly and regularly with your doctor. This will help you take an active role in your child's care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions. Also, ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions and Comments for Your Doctor

About Your Child

  • How would you classify my child's case on a range of mild to severe?
  • What can I expect from my child in terms of development?
  • Will my child be able to attend a normal school?

About Treatment Options

  • Will you be able to manage my child’s care long term?
  • Can you be our constant advisor to evaluate my child's progress? Can you suggest treatment changes when beneficial? Or, will you recommend someone who can?
  • Are there other healthcare professionals you can refer us to who can help with treatment?
  • Should my child take medicine? If so, what are the benefits and side effects?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What is the best way to incorporate these lifestyle changes into our lives?
  • How will these changes affect my other children?
  • What are the best local information resources and sources of support for the changes we are going to have to make in our lives?

About Outlook

  • Can you recommend a support group? Can you tell me about other means of emotional support for our family?
  • Are there any funding sources available for the types of support we may need?
  • As my child grows, how independent will he or she be?
  • Should we make financial and/or guardianship arrangements in case something happens to us?
  • Should we have another child? What is the chance that another child will also have autism?
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References:

Autism. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Autism/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Autism spectrum disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml. Updated October 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html. Updated October 21, 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated May 2014. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2015

 

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