How Do I Choose the Best Psychiatrist for Autism?

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  • Written By: Christina Hall
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2019
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Choosing the best psychiatrist for autism can be an arduous task due to most treatment plans for disorders on the autistic spectrum being relatively complicated. The first step to choosing a provider entails having the child assessed by a competent medical practitioner, like a primary care physician, to determine the presence and to what degree autism is present. After a diagnosis has been made, it can be helpful to ask the child’s doctor for a referral to a qualified psychiatrist for autism based on his personal experience and clinical expertise. Many times, local qualified professionals work together as a treatment team, and keeping the primary care physician involved in treatment can add to the chances of it beginning an effective and holistic treatment plan in a minimal amount of time. Other factors that can help you choose the best psychiatrist for autism may include the flexibility and compatibility of the psychiatrist’s schedule with the patient and the patient’s family obligations, his qualifications and reputation, and whether his service is covered by the patient’s existing health insurance.


Research points to trust as one of the most important determinants in developing a personal and efficacious therapeutic relationship. Perhaps most importantly, the child should show signs or verbally express his positive first impression, and later, the subsequent positive nature of the developing relationship with the doctor. The importance of the patient’s primary caregiver’s trust in the psychiatrist is also paramount to increasing the chances of viable treatment. Before meeting a psychiatrist for autism face-to-face, an initial phone call may help the caregiver and patient judge the compatibility of each person’s personality and temperament that will be involved in treatment. The prospective doctor should be forthcoming and clear in explaining his primary approach when treating autistic disorders and express an understanding of the child’s unique issues related to his specific diagnosis.

The treatment for autism often requires a multi-disciplinary approach; the psychiatrist should be competent, willing, and experienced in heading and forming a treatment team that may include learning and speech therapists, neurologists and occupational therapists. Finding the best psychiatrist for autism may involve researching a number of different doctors’ areas of expertise. For example, a psychiatrist may primarily treat a specific age group, be competent and open-minded in differing degrees in regard to medication prescription and management, or have specialized training in various autism-specific alternative healing modalities. Keeping track of the pros and cons of each doctor can help in making a final decision.


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