Hi everyone! Happy to be a new member of what looks like a wonderful online community! My son is 3.5 years old and has been diagnosed with a language disorder (mixed expressive receptive language disorder) and motor planning difficulties. We are having a very hard time finding a developmental pediatrician that knows about how language disorders can have many of the same symptoms of autism. I am fine if my son is on the spectrum, but it seems that each doctor is just checking off boxes on their ASD list and not looking at the whole picture. We are located in Monmouth County NJ but would be willing to travel anywhere in the state or New England area really for the right doctor to receive an accurate evaluation. Can anyone help with recommendations for developmental pediatricians that are knowledgeable about language disorders and really take the time to get to know the child/listen to the parents? Thank you so much!!
Unfortunately that can happen during some appointments. I have spoken to several psychologists who do extensive evaluations to determine diagnoses.
@Drkarenweiss can you offer some advice here and maybe a referral?
It’s so stressful when you can’t figure out where to go to get clear answers. In this case, I would actually recommend that you see a neuropsychologist instead of a developmental pediatrician. While developmental pediatricians certainly diagnose autism spectrum disorders, it can often feel like they’re checking off boxes, especially when the situation is complex or when it feels like there are other things going on too.
Neuropsychologists, or psychologists who do neuropsychological evaluations, are better equipped to differentiate between different developmental profiles. A neuropsychological evaluation would look at specific skills- social skills, language skills, nonverbal skills, etc to conclusively determine what your son’s strengths and weaknesses are. In this case, I would recommend a practitioner who uses the ADOS, which is a specific way to determine whether a child is on the autism spectrum. While lots of psychologists are trained in the ADOS, I would probably recommend going to a center that is based in a major hospital, so that professionals from other departments can be pulled in if necessary to contribute to the evaluation. A couple of good places to start are the Autism Spectrum Disorder Service at NYU https://nyulangone.org/locations/child-study-center/autism-spectrum-disorder-service or YAI https://www.yai.org/services/autism-diagnostic-assessments-neuropsychologicals. When you call, let them know that you’re looking for a neuropsychological evaluation.
I hope that you get clarity soon!
@Drkarenweiss thank you so very much for the recommendation!! I will look into getting a neuropsychological evaluation! I so appreciate you taking the time to answer my question and in such detail!!