Diagnosis Title

Within primary care settings, suspecting a diagnosis of autism may be more important than losing time trying to make a definitive diagnosis over a series of repeated visits. In this section we will outline the important signs and symptoms of autism.

However, it is important to remember that patients can be referred for early intervention services even before a final diagnosis of autism is made. Just the suspicion of developmental delay is enough to initiate care and intervention for any patient.

Within our website, we provide video examples of develomental delays and video cases of patients with autism.If you have not had much contact with patients with autism during your training, we hope that these examples will bring some life to the written descriptions of autism.

Just remember... don't wait. Refer early.


  • Early Diagnosis
    It is possible to diagnosis autism before the age of 18 months (NIMH)
  • Later Diagnosis
    What if someone is not diagnosed before the age of 3, what might autism look like in older patients?
  • Communication
    One of three major areas of impairment for people with autism (NIMH)
  • Social Symptoms
    One of three major areas of impairment for people with autism (NIMH)
  • Joint Attention
    Problems with joint attention is a particular problem in social interaction that is thought by some to be an early hallmark of autism (AAP)
  • DSM-IV
    The DSM-IV provides the criteria and signs that form the different diagnoses found within autism spectrum disorders.
  • HFA/Asperger's
    One part of the autism spectrum that is missed at an early age are those patients with high functioning autism or Asperger's Disorder (ASA)


Diagnosis Section Photo
First Signs

First Signs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents and physicians about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders.

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Adam Video Case Photo
Adam, Age 8