Securing an early diagnosis can make a profound difference in the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. So where should Singaporeans go to get accurate autism screenings? And what do these tests consist of?
We address this question here and share insights on how early intervention programmes help children with autism. But to understand the need for early intervention, we must first unpack the importance of autism testing.
Why Test for Autism?
From your old classmates at school to your current co-workers, you probably know someone who has autism — that’s how common the condition is. As research recently published in the Autism academic journal reveals, 1 in 150 Singaporeans are on the autism spectrum. This study also found that, despite how widespread autism is, many Singaporean medical professionals fail to understand the condition. These misunderstandings can lead to misdiagnosis that prevents children with autism from getting the support they need.
In many cases, getting the right kind of support is critical to helping children with autism to unlock their potential. While autism affects everyone differently, the condition often leads to learning and developmental challenges. For example, children with autism might take longer to understand and organise new information — or they may struggle to cooperate in group projects. These differences may lead to difficulties in a child’s academic, social and home life.
Getting the right experts to test your child is crucial to limiting these difficulties. Seeking a diagnosis is also key in eliminating the learning gap between your child and their peers. Importantly, the sooner you receive a diagnosis, the faster you can close this gap.
Once your child is tested, you’ll have the answers you need to find an intervention solution that targets their autism-related learning difficulties. At Thomson Kids, for example, our early intervention programmes use proven techniques to help children with autism thrive in school.
What Is the Autism Assessment Procedure?
The signs of autism present differently in all children — with each child having a unique set of strengths and challenges. Considering how varied the condition can be, autism screening should be as comprehensive as possible.
In Singapore, the autism assessment procedure typically begins with parent interviews that unpack the child’s history and behaviour. Children will then be assessed using standardised and internationally-recognised tests. The child is also observed in various settings, where they are tested for language, social skills and to see how rigid or restricted their behaviour is.
Where to Get an Autism Test in Singapore
To get the most accurate diagnosis, take your child to a qualified developmental expert that specialises in autism diagnoses. In Singapore, you can access a specialist by booking an appointment at private facilities and intervention-based learning centres.
Of course, some of the signs of autism can resemble other conditions. According to the latest Ministry of Health report, 5,000 preschoolers were diagnosed with developmental delays last year. Considering the prevalence of other conditions, there’s always a chance that your child’s developmental challenges are unrelated to autism.
In these cases, testing your child with educational specialists has added benefits. As these specialists are experts in a range of learning and developmental conditions, they are equipped to help you pinpoint the root of your child’s difficulties. At Thomson Kids, our autism assessment experts are as well versed in other conditions that impact communication and social behaviour.
The Next Step: Testing Your Child for Autism
The right intervention programme can help your child overcome many of their developmental challenges. If you suspect your child is autistic, that means first securing an expert diagnosis. After receiving an assessment, you’ll be in an excellent position to source tailored learning solutions.