The professional will also observe your child and interact with her for some period of time, making note of the same types of symptoms he or she asked you about in the interview. The examiner might set up specific situations to make sure that certain symptoms, if present, are evident during the observation period. Eye contact, for example, is often poor in children with autism spectrum conditions. To be certain that your child's eye contact is limited with the examiner because of an autism spectrum disorder and not just due to shyness or lack of opportunity, the examiner might set up explicit scenarios that powerfully pull for eye contact, such as making it necessary that your child ask for help. In such situations, typical children almost always make eye contact. Similarly, the examiner might ask your child to tell a familiar story, because most typical children will periodically make eye contact to be sure that you are following them or are interested in what they are saying. An experienced evaluator might engineer a specific opportunity for your child to empathize with him or her to examine this criterion accurately. He might pretend to stub his toe or shut his finger in the door or might mention that something sad happened to him recently (such as that his favorite pet was lost) to gauge your child's reaction and ability to offer comfort or support to others.
In most cases, the parent interview and direct observation of your child are enough for the examiner to make or rule out the autism spectrum diagnoses. As may already be apparent, there is no medical test for autism spectrum conditions. We cannot draw blood and look at chro mosomes or levels of any particular chemicals to tell us if your child has Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. We can take pictures of his brain (for example, with magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans), but that won't tell us his diagnosis. As you will read in Chapter 3, we have found a few brain abnormalities in some people with autism and Asperger syndrome but nothing present in all (even most) AS-HFA people or not present in some non-AS-HFA people. So currently there are no specific biological tests for the autism spectrum disorders. Professionals rely on the presence of the specific behaviors described in this chapter to diagnose the conditions. But this is not necessarily the problem it may sound like. All disorders in the DSM-IV are diagnosed on the basis of behavior (rather than biology), and the autism spectrum disorders happen to have among the very highest reliability of these disorders. That means that if several different professionals were to see the same child with AS-HFA, they would be more likely to agree on his diagnosis than were they to see a child with another (less reliable) diagnosis, such as ADHD.
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Learn How to Help, Understand amp Cope with your Aspergers Child from a UK Chartered Educational Psychologist. Before beginning any practice relating to Aspergers it is highly recommended that you first obtain the consent and advice of a qualified health,education or social care professional.