Frequently Asked Questions


Question 1. I think my child has autism. How do I find out for sure?

Answer: It is best to share your concerns with your child's medical provider and ask for a developmental screening for autism. To learn more about typical development and what to do if you have concerns, call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or visit


Question 2. What is a developmental screening?

Answer: Professionals use various screening techniques to assess children for developmental delays in language, social, and behavioral issues. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children have a developmental screening at every well-child check-up with an autism specific screening at 18 months of age. Due to potential regression of abilities, an additional autism screening is recommended at 24-30 months of age. Visit the following sites to learn more about developmental screening:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Pediatrics


Question 3. My child was recently diagnosed with autism. Which therapies are best?

Answer: Since every individual with autism is unique with different needs, it is impossible to recommend one therapy as the best. Some therapies are medical, some psychological, and some behavioral. Your child's medical provider can help determine the right approach for your child and help you find the best professional for a given treatment.


Question 4. How do I learn more?

Answer: Autism Outreach Project provides a free lending library open to all Washington State residents. The library contains a variety of books, videos and DVDs on autism related topics. You may request materials by e-mail, mail, or telephone. Your only cost will be to mail or drive the materials back to the site.

Autism Society of Washington provides autism-related information and resources for families, providers, and the general public. The web site has links to statewide activities, trainings, legislative issues, and the latest news.

Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction provides special education information.


Question 5. Who can diagnose autism?

Answer: By law in Washington State, only the following professionals are qualified to give a diagnosis:

  • Board eligible neurologists.
  • Board eligible psychiatrists.
  • Licensed psychologists.
  • Board certified developmental and behavioral pediatricians.

Your county Children with Special Health Care Needs Coordinator can help refer you to local community resources.

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