As You Are: Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder


As I reflect on my son Matthew’s upcoming 18th birthday, my mind floods with emotions and memories. Some of them are typical, just like the mother of any almost 18-year-old might experience, others not so typical. I remember his first steps, his first words, his loss of language, the re-emergence of language, struggling to find the right schools, the first time he stayed home alone, and so on.

You see, Matthew received an autism diagnosis shortly after his third birthday. That diagnosis pervades many of the memories.

Even though almost fifteen years have passed, it seems like yesterday. Despite Matthew showing signs of autism before his second birthday, we struggled to find professionals willing to see him at such a young age. We visited rounds of specialists, ruling out any other possible reason for his symptoms. At that time, doctors appeared hesitant to label him.

This search for answers impacted our entire family.

Matthew’s older siblings lost time with their parents. We spent thousands of dollars on doctor’s visits and tests. All the while, Matthew struggled to find his voice. Finally, a year later, three different professionals officially diagnosed him.

Research studies show early intervention critical for the long-term success of those on the spectrum. An earlier diagnosis means earlier access to therapy. Yet, then and still today, a child cannot receive many of the necessary therapies without a diagnosis. It’s a catch-22.

How I wish a service such as As You Are existed in 2008.

As You Are provides virtual diagnosis for autism and other related neurological disorders. Founded in 2022, CEO and former clinician Kayla Wagner, founded As You Are because she saw a huge need to provide access to early autism diagnostic services throughout the US. Some of their leadership team and physicians have family members or close friends on the spectrum. This personal knowledge provides valuable insight into the ongoing struggles families face while seeking a diagnosis.

As You Are diagnoses patients over a series of virtual appointments and then works collaboratively with the family developing a long-term care plan.

As You Are offers virtual appointments in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. They accept patients between the ages of 16 months and 10 years. Diagnoses are provided by Board-Certified Physicians. Once a patient receives a diagnosis, they match with a “Care Sidekick” who helps arrange necessary therapies and interventions. I spent considerable time perusing the As You Are website before writing the article.

Since I did not personally use them for diagnosis, I wanted to be confident writing about them.

I learned about As You Are providers, their education, and why they chose this company. Their parent blog section moved me, especially a post about how siblings deal with autism. It reminded me of my own children and how they positively benefited from growing up with Matthew:

“More than anything, their awareness that people are made differently makes me the most proud…I’ve heard about how they’ve helped one of their peers, or another special needs child, learn how to play soccer or basketball or even just learn to throw a ball if that’s where they’re at.”

Because I am years out of the diagnosis phase, I asked a friend with a younger autistic child for her thoughts on the As You Are model. She responded enthusiastically. Her diagnosis experience with another provider involved four trips from Pensacola to Destin. These trips required four days off of work, two hours in the car each trip, long waiting room visits, and many repeated questions.

She replied, “an option to expedite the process would have been amazing.”

This mom’s experience is not uncommon. Many families wait months for limited appointments for a myriad of reasons: limited practitioners diagnosing autism, missing work, childcare for siblings, and lack of resources to cover the expensive testing, to name a few. Children on the spectrum or with other neurological disorders struggle with change. The ability to seek intervention from the comfort of home saves time and money.

Most importantly, it allows the diagnostician to see the patient in their least restrictive environment. This helps get the most accurate diagnosis possible, which is what we all want for our children.

We want our children to be the best version of themselves possible and use all the tools at our disposal to help them. As You Are provides a much-needed resource for parents to utilize when seeking an autism diagnosis for their child.

Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments. You can learn more at





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