Who provides a diagnostic evaluation?

A range of clinicians and professionals can administer a diagnostic evaluation. These professionals have experience and may specialize in different areas of the diagnostic evaluation process, such as early developmental screenings, child observation, and administering standardized tests like the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2). The following is a list of some professionals who provide diagnostic evaluations and screenings.

  • Developmental Pediatricians: Developmental pediatricians provide diagnostic evaluations and assistance for children with developmental delays and disorders. Developmental pediatricians also specialize in behavioral disorders in young children and adolescents. 
  • Child Psychiatrists: a child psychiatrist can provide diagnoses for most behavioral disorders in young children and adolescents including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Child psychiatrists can also provide treatment for behavioral and emotional disorders in children. 
  • Pediatric neurologists: pediatric neurologists work with children from infancy to diagnose and treat neurological disorders and other developmental conditions.  
  • Psychologists: Psychologists have PhDs (doctoral degrees) and can specialize in a number of different areas of practice. There are many different kinds of psychologists, including:

    • Counseling psychologists: typically treat those struggling in the home/work/school environment with emotional difficulties and anxieties, often work with individuals with ASD, helping them to cope with social and emotional stressors. 
    • School psychologists: typically work with children in a school setting with behavioral and learning disorders, can work diagnose children with ASD and help provide them and their families within the school environment. This includes communicating with teachers for, and with, parents to ensure that their child is being supported in the classroom. 
    • Neuropsychologists: neuropsychologists specialize in the relationship between the brain and behavior, and will often work with individuals diagnosed with behavioral disorders and difficulties. 
    • Clinical psychologists: clinical psychologists work in the field of mental conditions and disorders. Clinical psychologists are often involved in the ASD assessment and diagnosis process, and can also provide diagnostic evaluations for other mental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Clinical psychologists are also able to administer the ADOS standardized test, which is a frequently used tool in the diagnostic evaluation process for ASD. 

The professionals listed above can all specialize and have experience in the diagnostic evaluation process. Many will also have experience in diagnosing and treating conditions similar and related to ASD, giving them the ability to provide differential diagnoses, as well as a range of perspectives on treatments and procedures to help families move forward after evaluation and diagnosis. 

Do you have questions about diagnostic evaluations or your child’s development? Contact our team to speak with a specialist who can answer all of your questions! (773) 998-8500



“Who Is Able to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder?” Center for Autism Research, Center for Autism Research, 2015, https://carautismroadmap.org/who-is-able-to-diagnose-an-autism-spectrum-disorder/

 “Elements of an Evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Center for Autism   Research, Center for Autism Research, 2020, https://www.carautismroadmap.org/elements-of-an-evaluation-for-an-autism-spectrum-disorder/.