Reasons Why You Should Tell Your Child That They’re Autistic
If you have ever wondered, “Should I tell my kid that they have autism?”, then you are in the right place. You’ll learn why it’s important to tell your child that they have autism and the reasons why you should tell them that they’re autistic.“Should I tell my kid they have autism?”why you should tell your child that they have autism
Doesnt Point Or Respond To Pointing
Children will typically start pointing out things to their parents by 14 months. If a child doesnt point out airplanes or dogs or other interesting things, that could be a red flag. The same is true if a child doesnt look at things her parent is pointing out. Failure to wave or to respond to waving is another warning sign, notes the CDC.
Eye Contact And Social Skills In Young Children With Autism
In the past decade, research has intensified on the study of gaze and eye contact in high-risk infants. In particular, researchers have examined behavioral markers in young infants such as smiling and visual attention during face-to-face interactions1,6.
Social engagement skills are intact after birth in children with autism and the decline of these skills is often one of the things that parents notice as a potential marker for autism3. By the age of two years old, the children in a 2006 study who were later diagnosed with autism showed significantly worse performance in visual reception than their typically developing counterparts7.
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A Cautionary Note Regarding Social Media
Being open and honest about having a child with autism can often lead to greater understanding and support. In fact, there are some wonderful examples of parent bloggers in our resource section. However, parents should think carefully about what specifics they share about their child more broadly on social media and the impact that words can have on how a child might see themselves. A parentâs desire to be open and honest doesnât outweigh a childâs right to keep private intimate details of their struggles or most vulnerable moments.
How Is Asd Diagnosed
There is no simple medical test for diagnosing ASD.
To diagnose a child with ASD, a healthcare professional observes the childs levels of:
This could include the childs:
- verbal skills
- how they relate to others
- behaviours related to their interests and activities
- repeated actions related to how they speak, move or use objects
To determine the severity of ASD, the healthcare professional observes the amount of difficulty the child has with:
- social communication
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders to evaluate ASD.
If a health care provider thinks that your child may have ASD, get a referral for a diagnosis. A specialist will create a detailed description of your child’s strengths and challenges. A team of health professionals may work together for this assessment.
Testing for ASD will also make sure that this is not a different condition. For instance, sometimes hearing loss can explain your childs unresponsiveness in social situations or when their name is called.
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Early Signs Of Autism In A 2 Year Old
If you feel like your 2-year-old doesnt seem to be catching up with their development milestones, you may start looking for certain signs of autism spectrum disorder for any delays.Mild symptoms can be mistaken for being shy or the terrible twos.
Here are some red flags that may indicate ASD:
- Doesnt speak more than 15 words,
- Cant walk ,
- Doesnt know functions of household items like fork,
- Doesnt imitate parents actions or words,
- Doesnt use items for their own purposes,
- Doesnt follow simple instructions
Why Some Children Get A Late Autism Diagnosis
Many autistic children are diagnosed in early childhood. But for others, the behavioural signs of autism might not be as clear. It might not be until theyre at primary school or even secondary school that the question of autism comes up.
During these years, social and behavioural differences can become more obvious as children respond to the social and educational challenges of school and friendships.
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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.
- 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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Theme : Having Open And Honest Conversations About Autism
The first theme highlighted in Crane, Lui and Davies was Normalizing the conversations about autism symptoms. Parents reported that by having frequent and frank discussions about the way that their lives are affected were important in creating an open dialogue. Conversations that began when the child was young helped the child avoid having preconceived ideas about what autism is. This allowed them to have their own experience without being weighed down by the ideas of others.
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A Guide To The Signs Of Autism In Infants
The key to any illness is early detection and intervention, and autism its no different.
Babies that fall on the autism spectrum will typically have a delay in their social ques, motor skills, verbal skills, and have what seems like odd reactions to certain things. Autistic infants may be difficult to soothe and may seem standoffish in the way they react to both you and others.
The earlier the detection time, the better. Youll be able to prepare and adjust both your life and your childs to get them as close to normal life as possible for them. Its important to be mindful when watching your infants going through their various stages.
Many children with autism show signs at a young age. But what are the signs?
Here is a guide to the signs of autism in infants.
You Dont Have To Pack Food
When you first start implementing a diet change in your child, packing food for them is very important when you are on the go. You will not have to worry about this right now because everything is closed so you are forced to eat at your home. This can save you a massive amount of time in the kitchen which makes changing now more important.
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Watch Movies On Aspergers Syndrome And Autism
Many times people in the general public are not aware of the symptoms and mannerisms of Aspergers. By watching movies and tv series that portray the character and personality of people with the condition, you can initially raise awareness. Often the person will recognize traits in the characters and it may be a way to very slowly raise awareness to the point where the subject can eventually be broached.
Here is a list of Autism and Aspergers related movies.
When Should You Tell Kids They Have Aspergers
Tips for parents on timing and how to explain the diagnosis
This article was originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of Autism Spectrum News and is shared here with permission.
A diagnosis of Aspergers can be an overwhelming experience for parents and children. Some parents may feel a sense of relief at finally getting an explanation of their childs difficulties at the same time, it also can foreshadow a road ahead full of therapies, academic difficulties, and social skill building. As clinicians who often evaluate and treat children with Aspergers, we are frequently asked whether parents should share the diagnosis with their child. This is a decision that deserves careful consideration.
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How To Talk With Your Child
Whether the decision to share the diagnosis is being prompted by a recent evaluation, or parents have chosen to delay the conversation until the child seems ready, most children know something is different about them. In general we have found that children construct all sorts of fantasies and ideas about what is wrong with them and having a candid discussion may actually dispel some of their fears. Below are a few suggestions to foster an open discussion with your child.
Excessive Interest In Particular Objects Or Activities
Babies readily shift their attention between people and objects creating opportunities to learn from social interaction.
Babies with autism may show excessive interest in particular objects or activities and can get stuck or overly focused on these.
This interest may be so intense that its difficult to shift their attention away from an object of interest to something else.
An intense interest can lead to skills that are advanced for their age, such as building with blocks, or learning the shapes of letters and numbers, and can be missed as a sign of autism.
If your child shows excessive interest in particular objects or activities, this may be an early sign of autism.
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Heightened Sensitivity Or Sensory Aversion
Autism can cause a childs senses to be touchy. A child may enjoy rubbing smooth or soft surfaces, or he may smell everything, Pandey says. But he may not like to be held or cuddled. Everyday sounds might be really hard for them, she says of children with autism. She mentions toilet flushes and vacuum cleaners as common irritants. They might hold their hands up to their ears, she says. A child with autism may also be very sensitive to bright light, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Should You Tell Your Child About Their Diagnosis
This is a very personal decision and you will know best as to how your child will react to a diagnosis. Parents are often concerned about labelling their children. if your child hasnt noticed differences in relation to peers or issues with social or cognitive skills then it probably isnt necessary. You may choose to not use the phrase Autism Spectrum Disorder initially but talk about its traits instead.
If your child has become aware of problems with social skills, communication or mobility issues, it may be worth researching if disclosure would be of benefit. The feedback we have received from many of our members is that having a discussion with their child regarding ASD has greatly helped their child to understand why they behave in a certain way or why they may seem different to other children.
Autism NT staff, your childs pediatrician or psychologist can assist you in developing a plan to introduce the concept to your child. Autism NT has many books and resources that can help explain the diagnosis and highlight potential challenges and advantages of having ASD. If you choose to disclose the diagnosis to your child, its important that you use positive language to reduce any anxiety.
Suggested steps to disclose a diagnosis to a child
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Autism And Lying: Can Autistic Children Lie
All children lie at some point, usually to avoid getting in trouble. That doesnt mean they do it wellafter all, who else but your toddler would scribble all over the walls?
Most children with autism struggle with abstract concepts, social communication, and interpreting things literally, so as a parent, you might wonder: Can my child with autism lie? Does lying come as naturally to autistic children as typically developing children? Can they tell when others are lying to them?
Luckily, autism research has looked into this topic, so lets explore it.
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Choosing When To Tell Your Child About His Diagnosis
Today, thanks to advances in our understanding of autism spectrum disorders, many autistic children are diagnosed at a young age, leaving parents with the task of deciding when their child is old enough to be told about his condition. There is no single right answer to this question, however children on the spectrum develop at different rates and while one child may have the social awareness and maturity needed to process what an autism diagnosis means by age five or six, another might not be ready until he is eight or ten. Usually, knowing your child well and monitoring his overall developmental progress will provide you with the insight you need to choose the right time to reveal his diagnosis.
If your child is not diagnosed until he is older, choosing when to tell him ought to depend on his overall emotional state: If he is struggling with depression and low self-esteem as a result of prior bullying and other bad experiences, you may wish to wait until his emotional state has been improved by professional intervention. If, on the other hand, your child has received a prior diagnosis of some kind and is therefore comfortable with the concept, he may be ready to hear about his autism diagnosis right away . Once again, observing your child and understanding his current needs and feelings is key to selecting the right time to reveal his diagnosis.
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Highlight Strengths And Weaknesses
We all have them, and its pretty easy to come up with a list for each of us. It might be helpful for each of the family members, including parents, to speak about three things they are good at and three things that they struggle with. What is unique about children with Aspergers is the level of discrepancy that can exist between different areas. A 10-year-old with Aspergers may have a reading level equivalent to high school student, but math abilities of a five year old. What can be difficult for the child is the feeling of having such a large split inside of them. It can also be valuable to highlight the feeling of this dramatic chasm between the areas.
Speech And Language Difficulties May Present Themselves During Early Stages Of Language Development
Children with ASD may have a hard time speaking and communicating at the expected level for their age.
Even during infancy, you might notice that your child does not babble or coo in response when you talk and attempt to interact. By their first birthday, most toddlers can speak a word or two, but children on the spectrum often dont learn to speak until much later.
Sometimes, children with ASD babble and coo in the first few months of life, and then cease to communicate altogether. In these cases, all forms of verbal communication and normal language development and experimentation with speech abruptly stop. This can be disconcerting for parents and is often a sign that its time to investigate further by seeking professional help.
Even in cases where autistic children do speak and demonstrate pretty typical signs of normal language development, they often repeat unrelated words and phrases over and over and, in essence, speak without really communicating or conveying a feeling, thought or desire.
Early intervention is key to helping autistic children learn to communicate, whether it is through spoken language, or in more extreme cases, through sign language or even an alternative augmentative communication device.
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How To Help Your Child After An Autism Diagnosis
There are many things you can do to help a child with autism spectrum disorder. Start by ensuring their treatment plan is tailored according to their individual needs and work closely with the therapists, teachers and doctors involved to make sure you are following through with the therapy at home and school. It is also important to provide children with autism with a sense of structure in their lives. Create a detailed routine for your child and stick with it. You can also create consistency at home by reinforcing things the child may have learned in other settings and using positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
How Should I Tell My Child
There isn’t one ‘right’ way to tell your child about their diagnosis. However, here are some points to consider.
Who is the best person in the family to help bring up the subject? If your child is comfortable with a grandparent or aunt, it might be a good idea to get them involved too.
Choose a moment when you’re both in a calm mood and in a familiar place where you both feel comfortable. Autistic children can find it difficult to process new information, especially if they’re feeling anxious, stressed or are in an unfamiliar environment.
Try to make sure you won’t be interrupted. Your child may need time to think about what you’re saying or to ask questions.
One of the ways some parents start a conversation about autism is to talk first about differences. For example, you could write a list of family members’ strengths and weaknesses, then talk about what your child is good at and what they find difficult. You could point out that there is a name to this particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses.
Your child may have met other autistic people. You could explain that although autistic people have some things in common, they are all different.
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