by Polsdorfer R

Talking to Your Doctor About Autism

Your child has a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your experience with autism. Talk openly and regularly with your doctor. This will help you take an active role in your child's care.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions. Also, ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • How would you classify my child's case on a range of mild to severe?
  • What can I expect from my child in terms of development?
  • Will my child be able to attend a normal school?
  • Will you be able to manage my child’s care long term?
  • Can you be our constant advisor to evaluate my child's progress? Can you suggest treatment changes when beneficial? Or, will you recommend someone who can?
  • Are there other healthcare professionals you can refer us to who can help with treatment?
  • Should my child take medicine? If so, what are the benefits and side effects?
  • What is the best way to incorporate these lifestyle changes into our lives?
  • How will these changes affect my other children?
  • What are the best local information resources and sources of support for the changes we are going to have to make in our lives?
  • Can you recommend a support group? Can you tell me about other means of emotional support for our family?
  • Are there any funding sources available for the types of support we may need?
  • As my child grows, how independent will he or she be?
  • Should we make financial and/or guardianship arrangements in case something happens to us?
  • Should we have another child? What is the chance that another child will also have autism?


Autism spectrum disorders (pervasive developmental disorders). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Updated May 14, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Autism through the lifespan. Autism Society of America website. Available at: Accessed May 14, 2013.
Behrman RE, Kliegman R, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2007.
Goetz CG. Goetz’s Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2007.
Jacobson JL, Jacobson AM. Psychiatric Secrets. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley & Belfus; 2001.
Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.
Stern TA, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.

1 Resource Guide for Autism condition indepth
2 Treatments for Autism condition indepth
4 Symptoms of Autism condition indepth
5 Screening for Autism condition indepth
6 Risk Factors for Autism condition indepth
7 Reducing the Risk of Autism condition indepth
8 Medications for Autism condition indepth
10 Conditions InDepth: Autism condition indepth
11 Diagnosis of Autism condition indepth
12 Asperger Syndrome condition

Asperger syndrome is a neurological disorder resulting in a group of social and behavioral symptoms. It is part of a category of conditions called autism spectrum disorde...

13 Autism condition

Autism is a spectrum of complex brain disorders. The disorders result in social, behavioral, and communication problems. Other conditions that are part of this spectrum i...

15 Behavior Management for Children with Autism lifestyle - kids' & teens' health
16 Wandering in Children with Autism lifestyle - kids' & teens' health
17 Health Services for Children with Autism lifestyle - kids' & teens' health
18 School-based Services for Children with Autism lifestyle - kids' & teens' health
19 Could it be Autism? Learn the Signs. lifestyle - kids' & teens' health
20 Raising a Child With Autism: The Basics lifestyle - kids' & teens' health

Caring for a child with autism can be a challenge. But by following a few basic guidelines outlined in this article, you can make things easier for you and your child....