For children with autism, it usually helps a lot if diagnosis is carried out at an early age - preferably before age 3 - as early diagnosis can help improve the outcome. Significant improvements have been noted in autistic children diagnosed before this age. Diagnosis, however, is very difficult because rather than acting abnormally, autistic children often
lack the normal social and communication behaviours. For example, the child may have been able to play simple games or wave hello and then gradually loses those skills, or the child may have been able to say words like "mommy", "nanny", but then forget those words and doesn't develop other words.
Taking early diagnosis may also help parents cope with everything better. It is never easy being a parent of an autistic child, and those parents need to be assured that it's not them who cause the problem in their child's behaviour, and that they do need to behave with their child differently than others may behave with their children. This, however, will help their child not build up a repertoire of odd or difficult behaviors.
In this section:
1. Early signs
2. Diagnostic tools
3. Difficulties in diagnosis
4. After diagnosis