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Autism professionals

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If your child has autism, many different professionals will help with their care and treatment. These professionals make up what doctors call a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

Here we've explained who these professionals are and what they do.

Health visitor

Your health visitor begins visiting you and your baby at home soon after birth. Health visitors are trained to look out for problems in young children. If they think there's a problem, they will tell you to see your GP. They aren't trained to diagnose autism. But they often help link together all the people who give advice and care for your child.


Your GP may be the first doctor you see if you are worried about your child. This doctor will check your child and may send them to a doctor who specialises in child development.


A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in children's health. Your paediatrician may work in a centre that focuses on child development. This is a place where you can see different health professionals under one roof.


Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in mental health. Doctors who have a special interest in learning problems are often psychiatrists. A psychiatrist who specialises in children's problems is called a child psychiatrist.


A psychologist has special training in diagnosing psychological problems and in giving treatments that can help people with autism with communication and other skills. They aren't medical doctors and don't prescribe drugs. Psychologists who work in hospitals or clinics are usually clinical psychologists. You may also meet an educational psychologist. This is a professional who is specially trained in helping your child learn and get on at school.

Speech therapist

Speech therapists help you speak properly. Your child may need to see a speech therapist during the diagnosis of autism or as part of the treatment.

Other specialists

Your child may also need support and treatment from other professionals as well. For example, your child may need to see physiotherapists for help with physical skills and occupational therapists for help with work skills.



A physiotherapist is a health professional who is trained to use physical activity and exercises to help people's bodies heal.

For more terms related to Autism


For references related to Autism click here.
Last Updated: August 29, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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