The Autism Assessment Team

Autism is complicated and requires professional intervention. The assessment team may include some or all of the following professionals:

Developmental pediatrician – Treats health problems of children with developmental delays.
Child psychiatrist – A medical doctor who may be involved in the initial diagnosis, can prescribe medication, and provide help in behavior, emotional adjustment, and social relationships.
Clinical psychologist – Specializes in understanding the nature and impact of developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders. Performs psychological and assessment tests.

Occupational therapist – Focuses on practical, self help skills that will aid in daily living.

Physical therapist – Helps to improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves to develop muscle strength, coordination, and motor skills.

Speech/language therapist – Involved in the improvement of communication skills.

Social Worker – May provide counseling services or act as case manager helping to arrange services.

Have you worked with an autistic child? What was your experience?


  1. Being a nanny to an autistic child can be frustrating or a wonderful experience, it all depends on your attitude. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in psych and had a little experience working with mentally handicapped children before graduating. So I decided to give the nanny job for an autistic child a try since I could quit if it was too hard.By working with the autisitc child, I have a much higher salary than the typical nanny. I only care for the one child and deal with only this one set of parents and a whole bunch of experts. It is so rewarding. I really can care for the child to the best of my ability and I can say she is really getting the best care she can get and has the best quality of care available. She is living up to her greatest potential because the parents have gotten so many people involved in helping their daughter.If you have patience, caring, time to devote to an autistic child you will feel great about your work and get compensated more than other children.Maryanne, Atlanta area

  2. I did work with a child with autism. There were three childen in the family and only one had trouble. He always played by himself. He hated loud noises, including the toilet, which made toliet training difficult he cried by the loud noise. At school he would hold it in all day so didn't have to hear the loud toilet. Sometimes he seemed fine. Other times I could call for him and he wouldn't respond. One day I found him in a dark closet playing with cereal he had spilled on the floor, perfectly happy. He could say "hi" and "bye" but within a few minutes he would be always be playing by himself under a table or in a corner, even under a blanket. Never figured out underpants go under your pants when asked to dress himself (he was 5 and should be able to get dressed). But parents would not listen to preschool teacher warnings, my explanations of what was going on, and they ignored the advice pediatrician offered. They promised to take son to specialists and they never did. Very frustrating, I quit. I will not attempt working with developmental delays or autism again if possible.Nanny Lara, Oakland Cali..

  3. I worked for a family in which the mother became defensive when I FINALLY brought up the topic of developmental delays in their child, just like others that have commented on this blog previously. It's a scary thing having to approach a difficult topic with parents. 1) you are an advocate for children when working as a nanny. You probably spend more time with the child then the parents do. So you feel an obligation to inform parents of your concerns.2) if you do bring up the topic you might get fired (no kidding) if the parents feel angry.Move foward with caution when approching the subject with the parents. Suggesting a diagnosis of autism is something that should be done with respect. They will have to visit local doctors who are experts working with/diagnosing children with delays. Information like that can usually be found on an Autism Society web site or through a local agency that serves children with developmental delays. All I can say is the best results come from empowering the family to reach a conclusion about their child. It doesn't do a whole lot of good to suggest a disbility and leave the family to stew in the possible diagnosis until someone provides more information. Chances are they are overwhelmed and/or concerned with their child (even if they are not saying it out loud). Be a support and a provider of information.

  4. I did accept a job with one autistic child with aspergers (?spell right). It really was too much for me and I had to leave the job (quit). I think that nannies with degrees or experiece in caring for children with autism should be hired rather than nannies without the education to care for them. It wasn't that I was not patient or caring. I did get really really frustrated and I think a parent that needs help caring for an asperger's child needs to pay more money than a mentally and developmentally healthy child. It is a really difficult job and those who can care for autistic children are wonderful people. They deserve every penny they make. Jenny from Lake Burton GA

  5. This is going to sound politically incorrect but I know a mom in town that keeps changing nannies and au pairs because her son is so difficult and she won't pay enough. She wanted me to help her find a great nanny BUT she doesn't have much to spend on that great nanny.Note to parents: If you have an autistic kid pay more for help. It's worth it to hire an experienced or educated caregiver and you owe that person the world. Quality childcare comes at a high price! But, it is worth it.Verna Wilmington DE

  6. If you believe that you can solve the problem on your own, or are suffering from a mental block that a therapist cannot help you with,there is no point in seeking therapy. Ask them questions that are bothering you about the massage. Where they learn techniques on how to improve their patient's mobility, relieve their pain and treat temporary or permanent disabilities, through various therapeutic techniques and website > naturopath

  7. I nanny for a 3 year old girl, lets call her J. I also bring my 2 year old daughter with me everyday. I was very excited that my very social daughter would have a playmate. It soon became very clear that J did not know how to play with others. Her parents told me their last nanny did not take J out very much and that might be why she was so "shy". After about 3 months I notice a pattern of sensitivity that J had. She could not tolerate warm food, she only ate raw crunchy veggies and cold tofu most days. She also would say it hurt when I wiped her for diaper changes. She said certain materials hurt. She was also very sensitive to sound and bright light. She also had this habit of holding a tiny rock in her hand, really anything that was tiny. After doing research I told her parents I thought she would benefit from body awareness activities and I gave them a list of fun stuff they could do with her. Summer time came around and we played at the playground everyday. She was improving a little with her touch sensitivities. Then the winter hit and all I can think about us how I can not offer her enough physical therapy. J is really having a hard time. She can not make eye contact. Rarely reacts to her name. Avoids physical contact (except with her Mother). She is very fussy and cries for up to an hour when she wakes from a nap or when she gets up in the morning. I am with her 5 days a week 8-6. I see her lack of interaction with children and she even seems to fear being close to others. She just started preschool 3 days a week. I am thinking of asking a teacher if they think she needs an evaluation. I feel like my hands are tied.

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