While both a medical diagnosis and an educational diagnosis of autism are important for your child’s development, there are key differences between the two.
A medical diagnosis of autism is an official assessment conducted by a medical or behavioral health professional, usually a child psychologist or a developmental pediatrician. This professional evaluates your child for autism using standardized criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). These criteria help determine if a child’s social, emotional, and communicative development is impaired as a result of autism.
A medical diagnosis is important because health insurers require a medical diagnosis to cover treatment like ABA therapy.
An educational diagnosis is typically performed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals at your child’s school. These evaluations involve the child’s parents as well. During these evaluations, the education team will evaluate your child for many different criteria and review how those criteria impact their success during the school day.
An educational diagnosis can qualify your child for special education and related services at school. However, an educational diagnosis does not qualify your child for ABA therapy or other services provided outside of school.
Whether your child has received a medical or educational diagnosis, or if you are contemplating seeking either diagnosis for your child, the team at Inner Circle Autism Network is ready to answer questions you may have and offer support.
Inner Circle Autism Network does not conduct medical evaluations for autism.