Talking to Your Doctor About Autism Spectrum Disorders
Your child has their own health history. Talk with the doctor about their risk factors and background with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your child's doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
- Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
- Think about keeping a diary of your child's symptoms, triggers, and a list of their medicines. Share this with the doctor at every visit.
Questions to Ask The Doctor
About Your Child
- Are my child's symptoms mild or severe?
- How will this affect my child's development?
- Will my child be able to go to school with their peers?
About Treatment Options
- Can you care for my child's specific needs or do I need another health provider?
- Can you help monitor my child's progress?
- Are there other health providers who can help us create a care plan?
- Should my child take medicine? If so, what are the benefits and side effects?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Which lifestyle changes will help my child?
- How will these changes affect my other children?
- Can you refer me to resources or support organizations to help us make these changes?
- Can you refer us to a support group for our child and our family?
- Are there any funding sources that can help us provide support to our child?
- How independent will my child be?
- Should we make financial and guardianship plans in the event something happens to us?
- What is the chance that we could have another with ASD?
- Autism. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Autism/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed May 16, 2022.
- Autism spectrum disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd. Accessed May 16, 2022.
- Autism spectrum disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/autism-spectrum-disorders. Accessed May 16, 2022.
- Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed May 17, 2022.
- Kari Kuenn, MD
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