If You Find It Hard To Get Diagnosed
It’s not always easy to get an autism assessment. Waiting times can also be very long.
If you’re finding it hard to get an assessment, you could ask to speak to someone else, like another GP this is called getting a second opinion.
It may also help to speak to other people who have been in a similar situation.
Get An Autism Diagnosis
Arrange an autism assessment for your child as early as you can. A thorough assessment is important for an accurate autism diagnosis. It helps to think of the assessment as a benchmark or starting point for support for your child. You can use the assessment to measure your childs progress.
For a thorough assessment and a specific autism diagnosis, make an appointment with a professional trained in diagnosing autism, like apsychologist, speech pathologist or paediatrician. You might need a referral from your childs nurse or;GP.
Autism diagnosis is based on observing your child, talking to you and others about your child, and looking at your childs developmental history. It usually involves many health professionals.
Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
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Social Signs Of Autism In Children
One of the biggest autism stereotypes is that were anti-social. But what in the world does that even mean?
A lot of autistics I know are very social, we just tend to socialize differently than neurotypical people do.
There are definitely some social signs of autism in children that parents can watch for, so Ive outlined a few of them below.
First, autistic children may struggle to relate to people outside of their close family.
It takes us a while to connect with new people, so were often most ourselves with close family.
Autistic children also may not play with other children as you might typically expect.
Autistics tend to prefer parallel play where they play near other children without directly interacting.
Your child may also seem like they are in their own world a lot of the time.
Maybe they dont respond when called or seem to zone out.
One of the biggest signs for my son, A-Man, was that he played with the exact same toys in the exact same way every time.
He liked his routine and playing in a way he knew that he enjoyed helped him to feel safe and in control.
You may also notice that your child prefers to play alone, rather than with peers.
Autistic children tend to be very specific in their play, and adding in other children adds a lot of uncontrollable variables.
Which brings me to my final social sign of autism
Autistic children may have extremely strict rules to follow during play.
Behavioural Signs In Infants Between 6 And 12 Months Can Predict Asd
A 2005 Canadian study published in the;International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience,;with over 200 participants was the first to;pinpoint specific behavioural signs in infants as young as 12 months that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, whether a child will develop autism.
Autism is one of the most prevalent disorders today, and while a bio marker was finally found last year to help with early diagnosis, its normally only 80% effective, and so far mostly being used on higher risk infants. Also it is found using an MRI, and wait times can be long. Most doctors instead must rely on parent observations, observing the child themselves, and;using standardized tools like the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers . However these tools are made for children who are 18 months and older, a long time especially when early detection and intervention can help with many of the frustrations that develop from communication problems.
Because of the research done, a scale was developed to help doctors with early assessment in infants as young as 6 months . The Autism Observation Scale for Infants has been a fantastic new tool to help parents and doctors get an early diagnosis.
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Make An Appointment With A Health Professional
Its a good idea to write down your concerns, including examples of what youve noticed and any concerns that your childs early childhood education service or school has raised. You can share this information with the health professional.
If the professional doesnt have any concerns about your child, but youre still worried, its OK to ask for a second, or even third, opinion from another professional.
You can monitor your childs social communication behaviour and interaction using the ASDetect app. It gives clear examples of what to expect in the early stages of your childs social and language development.
Signs Of Speech And Language Difficulties
- Speaks in an atypical tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch .
- Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent.
- Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
- Uses language incorrectly or refers to him or herself in the third person.
- Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
- Doesnt understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.
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Unresponsive To His Or Her Name
By 12 months of age, most children will look up or respond when someone calls them by name. If a child does not, that may be indicative of autism, the CDC says. These kids may also seem not to hear their parents or other people, or they may struggle to understand or follow simple commands or instructions.
Can A Child Be Slightly Autistic
A child can be mildly autistic. Every child with autism spectrum disorder is unique and so symptoms may differ in severity and range between individuals. Children diagnosed as mildly autistic are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them, but they do have normal intelligence and can conduct their daily activities.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asd
Every person with ASD is unique, so the timing and severity of the first signs and symptoms can vary widely. Some children with ASD show signs within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms may not become obvious until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD appear to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then stop gaining new skills and/or start losing skills.
During infancy , a child may show symptoms that include:
- Limited or no eye contact
- No babbling
- Appearing not to hear
- Playing with toys in an unusual or limited manner
- Showing more interest in objects instead of people
- Starting language skills but then stopping or losing those skills
- Showing repetitive movements with their fingers, hands, arms or head
Up to 2 years of age, there may be continuing symptoms from infancy. A child may also:
- Focus only on certain interests
- Be unable to have reciprocal social interactions
- Move in unusual ways, such as tilting their head, flexing their fingers or hands, opening their mouth or sticking out their tongue
- Have no interest in playing with other children
- Repeat words or phrases without appearing to understand them
- Have behavioural issues, including self-injury;
- Have trouble controlling their emotions
- Like to have things a certain way, such as always eating the same food
Possible signs of ASD at any age:
Become Familiar With Gross And Fine
Children with autism sometimes have motor coordination issues that need to be addressed. There are two main types of motor functions: gross and fine.
Gross motor skills involve big body movements and muscles. Physical therapy tends to work on these skills, such as crawling, walking, jumping, and navigating stairs.
Fine motor skills, on the other hand, are small, delicate movements, such as writing, zipping up a jacket, or buttoning a shirt. For these, your child will work with an occupational therapist. These skills tend to take a good deal of motor skill and hand-eye coordination, and they often need extra practice.
Try to think of fine motor skills the same way you would think about teaching someone algebra. There are a number of complex movements and motor planning strategies that go into learning each activity, and much like algebra, they need to be taught and mastered in order.
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Your Child May Not Fit Their Image Of Autism
Explain that autism is a spectrum of behaviors, and every autistic person is different in terms of onset, severity, and types of symptoms. For instance, some are nonverbal, and some are hyper verbalthey talk your ear off, though they dont engage in the back-and-forth of conversation very well.
Psychologist Mandi Silverman, PsyD, notes, We often say that children with autism are like snowflakes, no two are the same. Just because one child with autism looks and sounds one way does not mean that another child will.
Screening And Diagnosis Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be difficult because there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder. Doctors look at the childs developmental history and behavior to make a diagnosis.
ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable . However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adolescents or adults. This delay means that children with ASD might not get the early help they need.
Early signs of ASD can include, but are not limited to
- Avoiding eye contact,
- Having little interest in other children or caretakers,
- Limited display of language , or
- Getting upset by minor changes in routine.
CDCs Learn the Signs. Act Early. program provides free resources to help families monitor developmental milestones and recognize signs of developmental concerns, including ASD.
As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, they might have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected in school or on the job. They may also come to the attention of healthcare providers because they have co-occurring conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression, or conduct disorder.
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Being On The Spectrum Can Mean A Wide Variety Of Experiences
Autism is described as a spectrum of disorders for a reason. Signs of autism can present differently.;
Some individuals will have significant behavior and communication challenges that make the possibility of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis more likely.;
In other cases, caregivers may notice occasional atypical behaviors but that dont immediately cause them to seek a full behavioral health evaluation.;
In the latter scenario, a; child may never have their autism diagnosed or addressed therapeutically. Its possible that mildly-expressed forms of ASD behavior go completely unnoticed.;
But another possibility is that an; undiagnosed child or their caregiver will feel frustrated by a lack of explanation for certain behavioral events. They may struggle with socialization, for instance, or they may lack commitment to extracurricular activities.
Ignoring the possibility of an autism diagnosis, especially if a; child seems mostly neurotypical, can make it more difficult for them; to adjust and; have their needs met. For this reason, teachers and caregivers who observe subtle signs of ASD should speak with a mental health professional.;
A childs parents, teachers, and others with a direct role in their life are the best observers when it comes to picking up on a possible autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Only a licensed mental health professional can come to a full, accurate diagnosis, but you dont have to be a professional to suspect that an ASD diagnosis is possible.
First Steps After Receiving An Autism Diagnosis
You have just learned that your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For some parents, the news comes as a shock, while other parents may have been expecting it. However, almost all parents who receive this diagnosis for their child struggle with reimagining their childs future with this pervasive developmental disability. You are not alone, and it is normal to feel this way. The important thing to know is that, although there is no known cure for autism, there is hope. Your child will be able to learn, grow and gain new skills within their potential. The important first steps are educating yourself about the diagnosis, adjusting the childs home environment to best meet their needs, and seeking professional therapeutic services.
What is autism spectrum disorder?
As the name suggests, children with this diagnosis fall along a spectrum of symptoms that can vary from children who are fairly verbal and described as high functioning to those who have no language abilities and are described as lower functioning. Your childs symptoms and abilities will fit into one of three diagnostic levels to indicate the severity and where they fall on the spectrum:
Level 2:;This level requires substantial support. These children may have some verbal or cognitive deficits, and their social impairments are apparent even with supports in place.
What can I do at home to help my child?
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Talk With Other Parents
Parents making sense of a new diagnosis can sometimes feel overwhelmed and alone. Dr. Silverman says that one of the most important things, besides getting good treatment, is spending time with other special needs parents. Being in the company of other parents can make you feel strong rather than alone and isolated. Its important to have people who get it, she says. They can say, Someone said that to me too, and its so frustrating because thats not the way it is.
Your childs doctor might be able to recommend a local support group, or you could look online or network with other parents at special needs sports or activity groups.
How To Handle Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis
When your child is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, what should you do? How should you cope? Here are resources to help you become your child’s strongest advocate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control , autism affects 1 in 88 children, and hundreds of families are receiving news of an autism diagnosis every day. Autism is a developmental disability that significantly affects three areas: communication , social interaction, and behavior. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects “each person in different ways and can range from very mild to severe,” the CDC notes.
Many autism and medical groups advocate for early intervention and intensive therapy to help achieve maximum progress and recovery for a child with autism. They also advise gathering a team of doctors to assess the best treatment. But when you’re sitting in an office hearing the word “autism,” the immediate days that follow can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to figure out what comes next. What should parents do in those first few days and weeks after receiving the diagnosis? What treatment should they seek? How do they find good doctors? How should they cope and move forward? Here are practical and helpful ways parents can come to terms with the diagnosis and devise a plan of action.
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Get Organized And Keep Good Records
As parents of children with autism embark on treatment and therapies for their child, one of the most important things they can do is to keep accurate and organized records. “Over the years, as we got bogged down with progress and regression, it was often hard to see and remember what my son had learned, what he had accomplished, how far he had come, and what he still needed to learn,” Goring remembers. “So we’d go back and watch the videos we made of him from certain points in his life to remind ourselves of how much he had accomplished versus how he was now.” With evaluations from doctors and schools, educational records, detailed data from behavioral, medical, and biomedical therapies, and doctor’s notes and recommendations, the vast amount of records and paperwork can bury parents.
Some parents organize their child’s records within binders, year by year. Others create files grouped by subject: medical, educational, therapy, etc. Many autism organizations now advise scanning all documents and saving them in online file-sharing sites to reduce paper trails. “Figuring out a good organizational method early on is key,” Goring says. “You need to hold on to pretty much everything because you need to be able to look back on what you have done, how you have paid for treatment, and what has and hasn’t worked.”
What Documents Do I Need To Apply For Ihss
Before you apply for IHSS financial benefits, you need to make sure you have all the required information.
This mostly includes medical information that will help prove that your family needs financial benefits. Try to get doctors notes, results from medical tests, and information about any therapies. Of course, a diagnosis from the doctor will help too. For children, ask for statements from teachers or other professionals who know how autism affects your child.
If you are very detailed on the application and bring as much information as you can, you may have a better chance of being approved.
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