Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD for short, includes a series of neurological and developmental issues that impact learning and communication abilities. If you’re concerned that your child has a form of autism, or if you think you might have it yourself, make an appointment with Dr. Julie M. Hall. Her private psychiatry practice in Los Angeles offers convenient, flexible scheduling, so you can get an appointment during evening or weekend hours.
Yes. Doctors usually notice signs of autism spectrum disorder during your child’s first 2 years of life, although some patients don’t get a diagnosis until later. With autism spectrum disorder, your child may have:
Sometimes, depending on age and behaviors. With young children, Dr. Hall can compare your child’s development with that of other children in a similar age range. This can help determine if your child is meeting appropriate milestones. A reliable diagnosis can probably be made by the time your child is 2 years old.
For older children, usually a parent or teacher voices a concern. For example, your child’s teacher may notice that your child has problems socializing or playing with others, requiring you to seek treatment. The older you get, the more difficult it is to diagnose autism spectrum disorders. As an adult, these spectrums can mimic or overlap signs of other issues, including ADHD.
No matter your child’s age, Dr. Hall will want to observe behaviors and gather family medical history from you. She may go further and run cognitive tests or evaluate your child’s thinking skills. The diagnosis process will be tailored to your child’s specific needs and behaviors.
There are many theories about what causes autism. Some studies suggest that autism spectrum disorders are hereditary or linked to environmental factors — or a combination of both. While it might not be possible to determine an exact cause, Dr. Hall can help you with treatment.
It depends on the behaviors your child is displaying. It’s important to note that because this diagnosis is a “spectrum,” there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diagnosis or treatment. You’ll have to work closely with Dr. Hall and use psychotherapy to change behavioral issues.
In some cases, she may prescribe medication to minimize problems with irritability or aggression. Medication can also benefit patients who have repetitive behaviors, are hyperactive, or who have attention problems. If anxiety or depression are part of the diagnosis, medication can also help.