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Steps to Services

Step One: How do I get my child an evaluation?

Where you get testing done may depend on several factors, including your child’s age, where you live, and your insurance coverage. Below are basic guidelines on how to get an evaluation.

Contact your Peditrician, Nurse Practitioner, or Family Medicine Physician.

If you are worried that your child shows signs of autism or a developmental delay, talk to his or her pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or family medicine physician. They may be able to refer you to a local testing center.

There are many private practitioners, hospitals, and universities throughout Tennessee that offer autism evaluations. Some universities also offer research studies that include an autism evaluation. To find out more information, you can use the Tennessee Disability Pathfinder Database. You can also contact your local autism society and ask for recommendations.

Find testing centers on the Tennessee Disabilty Pathfinder database by searching the keywords Developmental/Educational/Psychological Testing or Autism Resources click here to search the database.

University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Step Two: What early intervention services are available?

If you are concerned about your child’s development and are waiting to have developmental testing done, you can contact two different state agencies for help while you wait.

My child is under 3 years old

If your child is under the age of three, contact the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS). Although they do not do autism testing, they can evaluate your child for speech-language, cognitive, motor, social, and adaptive delays that may qualify him or her for services. To learn more about TEIS in your area, click here.

My child is 3 years old or older

If your child is over the age of three but not yet enrolled in school, contact your local school system. Ask for an evaluation through preschool special education services. Although this will not give your child a medical diagnosis of autism or any other developmental disability, it can test if your child has speech-language, learning, or other delays that would qualify them for special education. For more information about school services, click here.

Step Three: Is there help while I wait?

You may be able to work with a private provider or therapist while waiting for testing. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or nurse practitioner about finding psychologists, speech therapists, or behavior therapists in your area. You can also talk to your insurance company about what services are covered.

To learn more about finding a behavior therapist, click here for Behavior Provider Tips and Resources

Need help? Contact Tennessee Disability Pathfinder