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What role do pediatricians play in the treatment of autism?

Pediatricians and family physicians both play a role by often being the first to consider such a diagnosis. They also play an important role in coordinating resources and referring the patient appropriately for further evaluation.
A general pediatrician has multiple roles in the diagnosis and treatment of autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs):
  • Address parents’/caregivers’ concerns.
  • Recognize at-risk children through screening tests and health maintenance visits. 
  • Refer children who show signs of ASD to the appropriate specialists.
  • Help caregivers advocate for the child.
A pediatrician is seeing a child more frequently than a specialist is. A pediatrician well-versed in autism can help the family identify struggles with daily routine, toileting, transitioning, sleep, eating sensitivities and gastrointestinal issues. The child's doctor can then help the family access the best resources in the area and also discuss funding issues. Some pediatricians will also feel comfortable with medication management for significant behavior or inattention issues.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.