But, who would search the web for “drips in the ceiling”, try to understand all the possible causes of the moisture, open up the drywall and attempt to weld the hole in the pipe (or maybe it’s the joint, or something else altogether)? Yes, there is always someone who would attempt to perform this task, but it sounds pretty foolish to me. Plus, you could actually make things worse (think FLOOD).
Yet, often when parents suspect their child might be exhibiting developmental delays, they search the Internet for a diagnosis and even a cure, NOT a doctor! The web contains over 20 million pages of information about autism.
Which page(s) should you believe? Which ones contain information that is incorrect and could make things worse for the child? That is what a pediatrician is for – to take an extensive history and perform a thorough physical examination, then give you a precise diagnosis (or possible diagnoses) and work with the family to come up with a plan to get the best possible care.
Why doesn’t everyone take this approach? Why do so many people try to “fix the leak” themselves? I’m afraid to say that the pediatric community should take a great deal of the responsibility here. That same pediatrician who claims that “vaccinations are always safe” and “he’s a boy, so they speak later” has suffered a loss of confidence because of tunnel vision and an unsympathetic ear.
When the doctor has to examine many patients per hour, there may be some diagnoses that are not routine and consultations that require too much time. Neurologists are frequently viewed as cold and unsympathetic to the devastation that a diagnosis of developmental delay brings to the parents.
Another contributing factor is the complexity of autism itself. There are often multiple diagnoses and the parents are caught trying to understand why the pediatrician writes “PDD NOS” and the neurologist puts “ASD”. Too many acronyms, not enough information, and so the patient turns to the web. Finally, there are the non-doctor doctors out there who offer claims of cure and magic bullets to fix the child. Who wouldn’t want to get a completely “cured” child – even if it costs your home and future?
What is the answer?
Find a really good plumber!
At this time, due to the LACK of state-of-the-art, the most accomplished doctors for Autism Spectrum Disorder are physicians who have specialized in the diagnosis AND treatment of affected individuals, and attend frequent conferences including the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs community of physicians.
If you try to diagnose and treat autism yourself, you may occasionally get some results, but you also might create a flood.