Sometimes the first step seems to be the hardest. We had our own challenges in this regard. With our son being a micro-preemie, the medical community was reluctant to put the "Autism" tag on him early even though he was displaying many signs. Our journey started with the diagnosis of developmental delay and it wasn't till he was 5 years old that he was officially put on the autism spectrum. You really, really, really want that autism spectrum diagnosis as it opens up a much bigger world of help and services. For many of us caregivers, there is an underlying hope that "we must be overreacting" or "my child isn't like that" that sometimes clouds our judgement on how we should proceed. In our case, we even feel that some of the first professionals that worked with our son, delayed their findings of "autism" because they didn't want us to panic about our child's future.
The early years are where you can make the greatest strides in the smallest amount of time. To delay in getting assistance for you child doesn't help anyone. The truth as we see it today is that our son could have benefited greatly if he had been diagnosed earlier and we could have started therapies such as A.B.A. much sooner.
If you need to find a doctor in your area to help with a diagnosis, the following links below can assist you in locating one. We've created individual links to some of the larger organizations. See the last link to get a more comprehensive list for many different Washington locations.
WASHINGTON STATE AUTISM DIAGNOSIS
WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS