Parents are usually the first to notice that their child is displaying unusual behaviors e.g. failing to make eye contact, not responding to their name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways. If you feel your child may have an Autistic Spectrum Condition, you should look at getting your child assessed. You can do this by going to your GP/PHN and asking for a referral to a developmental Pediatrician or a clinical psychologist, or you can self refer your child for an Assessment of Need under the Disability Act 2005.
If your child is in school, and there are concerns, they may be refered to the National Educational Psychology Services for assessment. The timeframe for children waiting to be assessed under the public system is currently a year to 18 months. Some parents choose to obtain a private assessment. While this can be an expensive option it is faster and can ensure prompt access to educational supports. If you are pursuing the diagnosis with the view to obtaining services and educational supports it is important to speak to your SENO and/or local HSE office before committing to any individual practitioner, to ensure their reports are recognised and accepted by the DOES.
If your child suffers from anxiety or you have other mental health concerns, they may be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. In our area that generally means the Lucena Clinic in Dun Laoghaire or Rathgar.. They may receive a diagnosis there, but the Lucena Clinic does not provide intervention for Autistic Spectrum Conditions post-diagnosis. They will treat ADHD and mental health issues related to an ASC like anxiety or depression.