10 y.o. needs support, maybe mild autism?

I'm starting to think my child might have mild autism. They're 10, and we've known about some sensory sensitivities for a while now (and been dealing with them through occupational therapy and other strategies), but onrushing puberty and the transition to middle school seem to have brought some underlying issues to the fore lately. 

We're transitioning from a private school to a public school in Oakland. I am unsure how to proceed in getting an evaluation, and what that will mean school-wise. I'm also looking for a therapist for my kid to help with school issues in general -- I think they could use some extra support and a non-family member to connect with in terms of learning to regulate emotions, handle school social relations, and  manage the demands of schoolwork. All advice welcome.

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You should attend DREDF's monthly orientation/overview to the special education process. www.dredf.org  Highly recommend it as a first step!

There are a number of avenues you could consider. Most services come through either the school district, medical insurance, or regional center and each of those entities has the ability to provide some form of evaluation. An actual diagnosis usually comes through a psychologist or neurologist. I think a good place to start is with your pediatrician. They can discuss the specifics of your concerns and provide referrals. I would think in terms of what services you think might be helpful. If your child is struggling in school, you can request an evaluation through your school district, although some districts are known to push back. If you think your child needs support at school I agree with the recommendation to contact DREDF to get advice on how to proceed. They are a wonderful resource. If you think they need more private services you might seek an evaluation with a psychologist. My daughter was originally diagnosed with autism by a psychologist at Regional Center. The route to Regional Center was essentially: pediatrician to local nonprofit (which did a free screening) to Regional Center.  Later she was evaluated by a neurologist. It can be a bureaucratic process, but I highly recommend seeking a diagnosis, even for mild or high functioning autism. There are so many services that a diagnosis will provide access to.