The short answer is no, unfortunately. But, the information that genetic testing can provide can save lives.
Genetic tests are not intended to diagnose autism—no known mutation leads to the condition every time—but, their results can substantially alter the course of treatments or prevention. Some mutations reveal that the carrier is prone to medical conditions such as seizures, obesity or kidney problems, for example. The information can also connect people who share a mutation; some of these individuals and their families have even fostered research by discovering shared traits. And knowing the specific risks associated with a mutation helps families make decisions about having more children.
Even so, most autistic people and their families never gain access to that information: In the United States, roughly one in three children with autism is offered genetic tests. (The numbers tested are higher in some countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, and lower in others, such as Austria and most resource-poor nations.)
For a family seeking a genetic test for their autistic child, there are a few options. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics both recommend certain tests, including chromosomal microarray analysis, a technique that detects large duplications or deletions of DNA. If that does not yield a result —which happens 80 to 85 percent of the time—the guidelines advise clinicians to test for two syndromic forms of autism.
Bottom line: If this situation applies to you or your family, get tested!