We aim to answer some of the most frequently asked questions from members of the ASD community.

ASD FAQs

ASD Overview ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS EXPLORE

Get Involved

Become a Volunteer
Help us Fundraise
Make a Donation

Make a Donation

If you have benefited from the free support provided by ASO, please consider making a donation.

General

Related to Your Child(ren)

Related to ASD in Adults

Education

General

Does Level 1 ASD affect a person’s intelligence and/or cognitive functioning?

Although no cognitive delay will be present, individuals with Level 1 ASD can demonstrate significant differences among skills and intellectual strengths, which can be quite confusing. However, it is not uncommon for someone with Level 1 ASD to have superior abilities in some areas and significant deficits in others.

Could other family members also have Level 1 ASD or another related neurological disorder?

Yes! ASD is believed to have a genetic basis. This means that other family members across generations may present similar symptoms. If you know or suspect that there is a history of ASD in your family, this can be an indicator that your suspicions may be right and it may be helpful to mention it to your doctor if you decide to pursue a diagnosis.

Related to Your Child(ren)

I’m considering getting my child diagnosed. I need to know…

How do I go about getting a diagnosis?

The first thing to do is visit your family doctor. If you do not have a family doctor you can find one through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. You can then ask for a referral from a GP or family doctor to a specialist in the field. You may want to investigate local children’s mental health agencies to see if they provide diagnostic assessment for Level 1 ASD.

What can I expect my family doctor to know about Level 1 ASD?

Your family doctor may not be as familiar with all the traits of someone on the Autism Spectrum. You can bring some of the material about Level 1 ASD from our website to your next appointment to help your doctor understand more about your concerns, help you find a diagnosis, or any other Level 1 ASD related issues that may arise.

Do I have to pay for a diagnosis?

Getting a diagnosis can be done privately or it can be covered by OHIP. The reason some people choose to get a private diagnosis is that there is a shortage of covered medical professionals who diagnose ASD, and as such there is often a significant wait time to get diagnosed.

What are the types of professionals that can diagnose ASD?

A formal diagnosis can only be given by medical doctors (i.e. GP’s, paediatricians, psychiatrists) and psychologists. Some people choose to have a social worker, speech and language pathologist, or another related professional provide a preliminary assessment that will allow them to give their opinion on the likelihood that someone has ASD. These opinions cannot substitute a clinical diagnosis but can help determine whether seeking one would be worthwhile.

The waiting list for getting a diagnosis is long. In the meantime I want to consider…

What can I do while I wait to be seen for a diagnosis?

The easiest thing to access and review while waiting for a diagnosis is literature on ASD. There are a growing number of books and workbooks that focus on many issues related to ASD. They cover broad and specific topics and some may also include activities to try with your child. Another option is to try and find organizations or programs that will not require you to have a formal diagnosis to receive services or support. Attending workshops about ASD is another great way to learn more about how you can support your child, both pre and post diagnosis.

What is the benefit of having my child formally diagnosed with ASD?

Getting a diagnosis for your child is understandably a difficult decision. Many parents fear the effects that labeling their child will have, both now and in the future. However, by getting the correct diagnosis you will be able to advocate for your child to get access to the support and services they need, including educational accommodations. Getting a diagnosis can help ensure your child’s success today and increase the likelihood of their future wellbeing.

How will an ASD diagnosis affect other previous diagnoses my child has received?

A different diagnosis given prior to one of ASD may not account for all the behavioural, learning, and emotional characteristics of ASD. Sometimes these diagnoses serve to address some of the challenges your child experiences, however a diagnosis of ASD will hopefully be more inclusive of all symptoms and rule out the need for the previous diagnosis. Other diagnoses may not be covered by the ASD diagnosis and may be maintained along with a primary diagnosis of ASD.

What can I expect from the assessment process?

The assessment process can vary and will depend on the person performing it as well as the individual being assessed. Depending on their experience with Level 1 ASD, some doctors may feel less confident than others to make a diagnosis immediately, while others will feel very confident to identify and diagnose ASD much sooner. Parents will often be part of the assessment process if the individual is a minor. The assessment process can involve interview(s) and questionnaire(s). The assessor will want to know about developmental milestones and the concerning traits or characteristics being presented. Questionnaires or standardized tests can be given to assess things like intelligence or language abilities.

What do I need to do prior to my child’s assessment?

Any previous assessments your child has had should be brought with you, or mailed beforehand to the doctor doing the assessment. It’s also useful to begin collecting records and thinking about your child’s developmental milestones. You can make a chronological list of events, paying careful attention to moments that triggered any concern or led you to suspect something unique about your child. You can also make a list of the current characteristics, behaviours or other problems that are concerning you. Finally, write down any questions you want to ask the doctor. If you don’t know what to ask, try reading up on ASD before the assessment appointment. Some of the things you read may trigger questions as they relate to your child.

I’m getting my child assessed. While I’m there I want to know…

What can I do if my child does not do well in testing situations?

There are many reasons children and adults with Level 1 ASD do not handle testing situations well. These include: (1) sensory distractions, (2) heightened anxiety, (3) inability to focus, and (4) difficulty processing what they are being asked to do. Be sure to tell the person doing the assessment of any problems and share any strategies that may help in such situations. A well-prepared assessment should contain the opinion of the diagnostician regarding the congruency between the results and your child’s abilities.

My child was assessed and has been diagnosed with Level 1 ASD. The first things I want to know are…

Should I tell my child that they are Autistic?

The decision to tell your child of their diagnosis can be a hard one that most parents struggle with, especially when children are very young. When thinking about whether or not to tell your child it is important to consider what they may already know, who else in their life knows, and how it may benefit them to know about their diagnosis. Generally it is better for children to know about their diagnosis as soon as their level of maturity allows them to comprehend it, although the timeframe will differ for each child. Ultimately each child is unique and it is up to the individual’s parents to determine if they are ready emotionally and cognitively to understand what having an ASD diagnosis means.

What should I do if I don’t agree with the doctor’s diagnosis?

Getting a second opinion is your right. Most doctors will encourage you to do so if that is what you wish to do.

Should I have other assessments done after the diagnosis?

It really depends on the benefit it would have for your child. Further assessments can sometimes be beneficial for gathering more specific information about your child; however they can also be overwhelming for both parent(s) and child. Getting further assessments can also delay the commencement of active supports and services for your child. When considering additional assessments it is important to consider what purpose they have and how they could benefit your child.

Do I need to tell others about my child’s diagnosis? And if so, who?

It is not necessary for you to tell anyone about your child’s diagnosis, however it is strongly recommended that you disclose it to all professionals involved in your child’s life. This includes teachers, doctors, social workers, therapists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and any other professional working with your child. If your child is not significantly impacted by ASD you may not have to tell other individuals involved in their life (babysitters, camp counsellors, extended family, etc.), however knowing about the diagnosis may provide them with a better understanding of your child and improve their interactions with them.

What can I do to support my child diagnosed with Level 1 ASD?

The first thing you need to do once your child has been diagnosed is figure out what a diagnosis of ASD means to your child. Autism presents differently in each individual so it is important to know how it affects your child. Identifying the most pressing issues relevant to your child (i.e. sensory, anxiety, emotional management) will go a long way in alleviating frustration or feeling overwhelmed with information when developing and starting a plan for support. You can also research and learn the various supports and services offered for children with an ASD diagnosis that target the issues you identify. Share these with any professionals involved in your child’s life and apply them to all interactions with your child. You can find much of this information on the Internet and in books, many of which are available through links posted on our website. It is also a good idea to seek parent support groups to connect with other parents who have children diagnosed with ASD, gain insight into the disorder, and learn from the experiences of others.

Related to ASD in Adults

I’ve already come this far. Why would a diagnosis of ASD be important for me as an adult?

It is not always necessary for an adult to seek a diagnosis of ASD. However, some of the reasons one should seek a diagnosis for ASD in adulthood include: (1) access to new and more appropriate services, (2) previous diagnoses that may be less useful or inclusive can be discarded, and (3) getting a diagnosis can provide relief, comfort and clarity for someone who has been trying to find the reason why they’ve always felt different from others.

What can I do while I wait to be seen for a diagnosis?

The easiest thing to access while waiting for a diagnosis is literature on ASD. There are a growing number of books and workbooks that focus on many issues related to ASD. They cover topics from the broad to the specific and some also include activities for gaining insight into yourself and how ASD affects you. Another option is to try and find organizations or programs that will not require you to have a formal diagnosis to receive services. Attending workshops about ASD is another great way to learn more about how you can find support, both pre and post diagnosis.

What can I expect from the assessment process?

The assessment process can vary and will depend on the person performing it as well as the individual being assessed. Depending on their experience with ASD, some doctors may feel less confident than others to make a diagnosis immediately, while others will feel very confident to identify and diagnose ASD much sooner. The assessment process can involve interview(s) and questionnaire(s). The assessor will want to know about developmental milestones and the concerning traits or characteristics being presented. Questionnaires or standardized tests can be given to assess things like intelligence or language abilities. Although there are limited professionals who perform ASD assessments for adults, they can be easier to diagnose as their developmental challenges have been present for much longer, making them more evident.

What do I need to do prior to my assessment?

If you’ve had any previous assessments, either bring them with you or mail them beforehand to the doctor who will be doing your assessment for ASD. It’s also useful to begin collecting records and thinking about the challenges you’ve had at various stages of your life. You can make a chronological list of events, paying careful attention to moments that triggered any concern or were particularly troubling for you. You can also make a list of the current characteristics, behaviours, challenges or other problems that are concerning you. Finally, write down any questions you want to ask the doctor. If you don’t know what to ask, try doing a bit of reading on ASD. Some of the things you read may trigger questions as they relate to your experiences.

I’m getting myself assessed. While I’m there I want to know…

What do I need to do to access this information for other professionals who work with me or may work with me in the future?

The more information you can provide to professionals who work to support you, the better equipped they will be to help meet your specific needs. However, due to privacy laws it is required that you provide consent when two professionals who work with you discuss any aspect of your diagnosis or supports required. Special consent forms must be signed that will specify who is allowed to speak to whom and what information they are allowed to share. If you have any clinical or support workers with whom you would like to share your assessment results, let the diagnostician know and ask for the proper consent forms.

What can I do if I do not do well in testing situations?

There are many reasons individuals with ASD do not handle testing situations well. These include: (1) sensory distractions, (2) heightened anxiety, (3) inability to focus, and (4) difficulty processing what they are being asked to do. Be sure to tell the person doing the assessment of any concerns you have and share with them any strategies you think may help in such situations. A good assessment should contain the opinion of the diagnostician regarding the congruency between the results and your abilities.

I’ve been assessed and have now been diagnosed with Level 1 ASD. The first things I want to know are…

What should I do if I don’t agree with the doctor’s diagnosis?

Getting a second opinion is your right. Most doctors will encourage you to do so if that is what you wish to do.

Should I have other assessments done after the diagnosis?

It really depends on the benefit it would have for you and any additional support you may require. Extra assessments can sometimes be beneficial for gathering more specific information about your needs; however they can also be overwhelming and overburden you with information. Getting further assessments can also delay the commencement of active support. When considering additional assessments it is important to consider what purpose they have and how they could benefit you.

Do I need to tell others about my diagnosis, and if so, who?

It is not necessary for you to tell anyone about your diagnosis, however it is strongly recommended that you disclose it to all professionals involved in your life. This includes teachers, doctors, social workers, therapists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and any other professionals working with you. Those who are not significantly impaired by ASD may not have to tell other individuals involved in their lives, however knowing about the diagnosis can help people have a better understanding of the individual with ASD and improve upon their interactions with them.

Education

What are the types of professionals that can diagnose ASD?

A formal diagnosis can only be given by medical doctors (i.e. GP’s, paediatricians, psychiatrists) and psychologists. Some people choose to have a social worker, speech and language pathologist, or another related professional provide a preliminary assessment that will allow them to give their opinion on the likelihood that someone has ASD. These opinions cannot substitute a clinical diagnosis but can help determine whether seeking one would be worthwhile.

My child diagnosed with Level 1 ASD has a very difficult time at school. I need to find an alternative; a different public school, private school, or home schooling. In considering the options I’m wondering about the strengths and weaknesses of each for a child with Level 1 ASD?

Many children diagnosed with Level 1 ASD find school and the school environment very challenging. The academic and social expectations, compounded with the sensory overload of the classroom environment can lead parents to consider other options such as private school or home schooling. The choice between public school, private school, and home school for a child with a Level 1 ASD diagnosis requires a great deal of consideration of the specific circumstances for the individual and their family. When reviewing the options, the costs and benefits of each approach should be weighed for how they will affect the family as a whole, as well as the child with the diagnosis.

Private schools may provide some relief as they tend to have smaller class sizes. Depending on the institution, some private schools will be willing to help make some adjustments to the classroom or use alternative teaching strategies with your child. Some private schools can be highly driven towards academic excellence and this may not be the right environment for a child diagnosed with Level 1 ASD. This is something you can investigate when you are looking at schools you may be considering. Home schooling can be a great option for a child who is truly unable to cope at school and who has an adult with the time and ability to reach them. The drawback lies in the lack of socialization, which can have significant consequences for a child diagnosed with Level 1 ASD. It is important for parents of a home-schooled autistic child to include extracurricular activities that provide their child with an opportunity to interact with peers and develop social skills.

What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?

An IEP is a formal plan, typically prepared by a Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT), that has been developed to provide descriptions of exceptionalities and needs of a particular student, as well as the content and delivery of the special education program established to meet those needs. It is mandatory for a public school to develop an IEP for every student who is identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). The IEP will include a lot of information regarding your child and their education. Included in this will be the annual goals and learning expectations for your child, method of assessment that will be used to measure your child’s progress and achievement, along with your child’s strengths and needs as related to learning.

What is an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)?

Students who receive special education accommodations must be identified as exceptional, which is the term used by the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) interchangeably with special needs. It is the responsibility of the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) to decide if a student will be identified as exceptional, determine the student’s needs with reference to the OME Categories of Exceptionalities and choose a placement that will best meet those needs.

If you’ve got other questions, we’re here to help.
Get in Touch
Need more information?
Have unanswered questions?

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

Essential cookies are required for the website to operate correctly. We do not store the information beyond your session. By continuing to use this website you agree to essential cookies.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies.
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec
  • wordpress_gdpr_cookies_declined
  • wordpress_gdpr_cookies_allowed
  • wordpress_gdpr_allowed_services

Decline all Services
Accept all Services