In Calgary children with Autism are most often diagnosed by pediatricians with experience in ASD. There are various ways the diagnosis can be confirmed:
Autism Diagnosis by Pediatrician:
- Your family doctor can refer you to a pediatrician who have special interest and experience in diagnosis for ASD. Pediatricians often make diagnosis by taking careful history about language, behavior, social interactions and making observations by watching child’s play activity and social interaction. You may be asked to complete screening questionnaires such as MCHAT and later on confirmatory tools such as ADOS or DSM-5 Checklist may be used by the pediatrician. You may be given a letter indicating the diagnosis, description of your child’s major challenges and recommendations for treatment. This service is covered by Alberta’s provincial health plan.
Autism Diagnosis at Child Development Center:
- Your family doctor can also refer your child to the Child Development Center (CDC) : http://fcrc.albertahealthservices.ca/professional/cds/forms/ASD-Referral-Form-Feb-2016.pdf .
- CDC has specific criteria before they will accept the referral for assessment for Autism. They do have a long list of waiting. For example requests for evaluation for ASD for second opinion will not be accepted and referring physician must descibe the symptoms in details in the referral form.
- For more information about the CDC, families may call 403-955-5990. This service is also covered by the provincial health plan.
- Child Development Center also provides post diagnosis sessions if the diagnosis was made by your community pediatrician. Your pediatrician will have to make a referral after confirming the diagnosis. The purpose of this meeting at CDC is ensure that the family understands the diagnosis and get to know the resources available in Calgary.
Autism diagnosis by Child Psychiatrist in Calgary:
Your family doctor can also refer you to a Child psychiatrist with expertise in ASD. This service is covered by Alberta’s provincial health plan.
Autism Diagnosis by Psychologist in Calgary:
A private assessment for autism can be obtained from a Registered Psychologist with special interest in Autism. It is important that you ask and understand what will be done during the psychological assessment. These types of assessments are privately arranged and can cost $1000-$3000. You will be paying this from your own pocket. You may want to ensure that confirmatory assessment for Autism (such as ADOS) is done not just screening for Autism ( such as MCHAT). This process is generally much faster, but also more costly. The major benefit of this assessment is that you get know functional status of your child. You would know what are the areas of need and what are your child’s strength. This service is not covered by the provincial health plan.
MD, FRCPC, FAAP, Consultant Pediatrician