What’s It Like To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder
A kid with autism might have trouble:
- talking and learning the meaning of words
- making friends or fitting in
- dealing with changes
- dealing with loud noises, bright lights, or crowds
Kids also might move in an unusual way or do the same thing over and over .
A kid with autism may have a little trouble with these things, or a lot. Some kids need only a little bit of help, and others might need a lot of help with learning and doing everyday stuff.
Dont Shy Away From Difficult Conversations
Having open discussions with your child with autism will allow him/her to feel comfortable in your presence. This will help him/her deal with difficult conversations in a safe environment. Dont limit your child by not exposing him/her to conversations surrounding race. Embrace these topics with your child. He/She may have questions about Black Lives Matter, the Holocaust, slavery in America, police brutality and race, etc. These are all important conversations to discuss with your child.
How To Recognize Reactions
Just as it’s challenging to predict the response of an autistic person, it can also be difficult to interpret autistic reactions to difficult emotions as these reactions may take different forms.
In some cases, reactions take the form of major temper tantrums, but other reactions can look very different. For example, they might take the form of:
- Screeching or other noise-making
- Bolting or eloping
- Intensive self-stimulation
- Aggression toward others
- Sensory avoidance
- Sensory seeking behavior
- Refusal to engage
- Compulsive behaviors such as touching the same objects in the same order over and over again
Some of these behaviors are actually attempts to self-calm. Others are simply physical manifestations of internal upset.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Asd
People with ASD have difficulty with social communication and interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. The list below gives some examples of the types of behaviors that are seen in people diagnosed with ASD. Not all people with ASD will show all behaviors, but most will show several.
Dont Wait: Begin The Conversation Early
It is not necessary for you to wait for your child to approach you on the issue of race. The earlier you begin this conversation, the more he/she will be equipped to confront and understand racism. Beginning the conversation with your child earlier will allow him/her to develop a level of comfort and trust while discussing this topic with you. Some parents dont want to burden their child with heavy discussions surrounding this issue. However, avoiding these conversations can only lead to misunderstandings on the part of your child with autism. It may also cause him/her to seek out others for information, and that information may not be the model you want your child to follow.
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Is It Time To Tell My Child About Their Diagnosis
- Your child is aware of how different they are and are asking questions like “Why can’t I…?” or “Why am I struggling with this?”
- Your child is asking about it themselves
- Your child is emotionally ready
- Your child already knows about other diagnoses
- Your child has already been labeled as a troubled or bad child and wonders why they’re being labeled as such
- You want your child to learn about the diagnosis from you before they learn about it elsewhere
- Your child takes part in meetings/appointments where the diagnosis is or might be discussed
- You are ready and willing to answer their questions honestly about their diagnosis
I strongly encourage you have open discussions about their diagnosis as soon as possible so that they can better understand themselves.
Does My Child Have Autism
Here a few signs to look at for that could help you understand your child might be autistic.;
Autistic children might not not interact with peers or appear socially clumsy.
They can have difficulty picking up on or interpreting body language, facial expression and tone of voice.
Expert Tip : Perhaps they initiate interaction in an undesirable way, says Lucy Russell, clinical director of ;Everlief Child Psychology where she works with autistic children and the founder of parenting platform They Are The Future. Or talk about themselves without allowing the other person to share information.;
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S To Explaining Autism
Explaining autism to a child is a conversation that unfolds over time.;
As with any diagnosis, there is no big reveal, but rather layers presented piece by piece so that the word autism becomes a way of describing what the child already understands about themselves.
Using this approach, even if it doesnt make sense to introduce the word autism just yet, we can still start talking to the child about their differences in a positive and empowering way.
The following sentence frame provides the basic structure that has been helpful to me in explaining learning or developmental differences one piece at a time:
When we break it down, there are 5 parts to this sentence frame:
Heres what it might look like for autism.
Understanding Your Autistic Child
HELPING FAMILIES COPE
A most important initial step to understanding your child is by obtaining the best comprehensive evaluation, identifying the childs strengths and weaknesses, having questions answered, and developing a plan for intervention, says Dr. Donnelly, pediatric neurologist at CHOC and UC Irvine. Parents and families need help and hope. They need to believe their child will improve and has a chance for a meaningful life. They can get help by contacting The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Santa Ana.
TREATMENT FOR KIDS WITH AUTISM
The main and most evidenced-based treatment is behavioral intervention, or Applied Behavioral Analysis , Dr. Donnelly says. ABA is a method of analyzing behavior using certain principles to create a plan to change behavior using specific rewards and punishments, to facilitate social interaction and communication, and eliminate negative behaviors. Other treatments can include special education programs, speech and language therapy, social skills groups, and occupational therapy. Medical evaluation and treatment focuses on making accurate diagnoses, determining etiology, supporting and educating the family, providing genetic information, treating any related problems, like seizures, and pinpointing associated behaviors such as ADHD, anxiety or aggression, and supporting behavioral strategies or medication to help improve symptoms.
TEACHING YOUR CHILD
THE NEW TERM: AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
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Grief Is Different For Everyone
Just as others may have different emotions during the funeral/viewing, so will we all grieve differently.; Your child may grieve for a very long time.; There is also the possibility that your child may grieve only a short time.; That does not mean their love is any less, and should not be looked down upon.;
We all grieve different and need to accept that process is different for everyone.
A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support
If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.
While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.
When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.
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Tip 2: Find Nonverbal Ways To Connect
Connecting with a child with ASD can be challenging, but you dont need to talkor even touchin order to communicate and bond. You communicate by the way you look at your child, by the tone of your voice, your body language and possibly the way you touch your child. Your child is also communicating with you, even if he or she never speaks. You just need to learn the language.
Look for nonverbal cues. If you are observant and aware, you can learn to pick up on the nonverbal cues that children with ASD use to communicate. Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when theyre tired, hungry, or want something.
Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum. Its only natural to feel upset when you are misunderstood or ignored, and its no different for children with ASD. When children with ASD act out, its often because youre not picking up on their nonverbal cues. Throwing a tantrum is their way of communicating their frustration and getting your attention.
Asd Diagnosis: What Do We Tell The Kids
A childs diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder often comes after months or years of worry and a long and painful search for answers. Receiving that final, official word can be very hard, even if a parent expected the diagnosis, or fought fiercely for the evaluation that led to it. Parents may grieve over the loss of the child and family they envisioned and worry about their childs future. 1As they begin to regroup, learning how to navigate education, medical, and insurance systems, they may also wonder: When will;we tell;our child about this diagnosis? When will;we tell his brothers and sisters? How; will we tell them?
Five Strategies For Explaining Death To An Autistic Child
Explaining death to an autistic child is never an easy task. I have unfortunately had to go through it a couple of times now with both loved ones and pets. The following tips will help you begin to navigate these tough conversations with your child with autism.
Death is a subject that is never easy for anyone to cope with. Understanding death can be extremely scary for any child. Not being able to see, talk, or hug a loved one again can be completely overwhelming and confusing. But for autistic children and adults, it can be tough to understand. Understanding and coping with loss can be even more difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders.
How To Explain The Diagnosis To Your Child
The primary rule to remember when revealing your child’s autism diagnosis is to stay positive. There is absolutely no need for the news to come across as ominous, worrying, or disappointing, and to convey it as such may do irreparable damage to your child’s self-esteem. Remember that we are living in a society where the concept of neurodiversity is gaining considerable momentum, so introducing your child’s diagnosis as a natural variation in the human mind – one that is to be embraced and understood – is often the best way to go forward. You may wish to begin the conversation by highlighting your child’s positive traits, e.g., Have you ever noticed how much more analytical and organized you are than most of your classmates? Likewise, before you reveal your child’s diagnosis, it’s a good idea to establish the concept that differences between people are normal, acceptable, and beneficial; for example, you may point out that while you are good at math and your spouse is not, he is much better at writing or working with people, and when you both work together, these different skill prove to be highly complementary.
Telling Your Child About Their Diagnosis
Many children with high-functioning autism;are included in mainstream classes and can handle a wide range of typical activities. Some parents worry that by telling a child about their diagnosis, they’re opening the door to trouble. Might the child lean on the diagnosis when challenges appear? Might their self-esteem suffer when they hear they have a diagnosable difference?
There’s no one right answer. Knowing they have a diagnosis may make a child feel like there is something “wrong” with them or feel stigmatized. On the other hand, children generally know that they are different and may feel relieved to be able to put a name to their challenges and seek out settings where they’ll have a sense of belonging.
Children with autism are diagnosed at different ages ranging from toddlerhood to adolescence, so the discussion will likely be impacted by the age of the child. Both a childs age and developmental level should be factors when;thinking about disclosing the childs diagnosis and considering how to share this information.
We Dont Need Autism Awareness We Need Autism Acceptance
Youve probably seen the bumper stickers, Facebook posts and the t-shirts calling for Autism Awareness. But as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum continually insist, our society is aware of autism. Its autism acceptance that we need. Though one in 68 American children are now diagnosed with autism, our society still treats autistic individuals and their families as social pariahs. To become a more inclusive society will take advancements in access to services, affordable health care, employment opportunities, Medicaid expansion, fair pay, and more opportunities for quality education.
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Share Suggested Ways To Interact With Your Child
When you first start explaining autism to friends, family, and kids, they might not understand all of the jargon and behaviors you identify. For example, they still might have trouble understanding the meltdowns, necessity for routine, or other behaviors your child exhibits. For this reason, you might want to share suggested ways to interact with your child.;
You wont need to share your childs treatment plan with everyone, but sharing the dos and donts for your child may be important for adults who care for your child regularly, like a grandparent or teacher. So, walk them through your childs schedule and make a note of the importance of sticking to it for your child. Let them know of any sensory sensitivities your child has with certain types of foods. Make them aware of any goals you are working on with your child, such as looking others in the eyes, and how to provide positive feedback and reinforcement. Any suggested ways of interacting can help others better know how to communicate and care for your child.
If you have any questions about explaining autism to family or friends, contact us at Carmen B. Pingree. We offer various autism programs for children and will be opening an adult autism center in the Summer of 2020. We are dedicated to helping those with autism receive quality treatment and work towards independence and increased quality of life. Discover all of the programs we offer today!
Talking About Your Child With Autism
Just a kid.
Say hi. Dont just ignore a child with autism, even if they are nonverbal, or dont reciprocate. It may take many more times before they learn to reciprocate. Using social greetings appropriately and at the right time is a skill set, and it may take them longer to gain those skills. Try not to give up too soon.
Talk to them. It may be more difficult to process information, and short and simple phrasing may be better, but continue to make the effort to talk to a child with autism so that they hear and see language in action.
Talk with your hands. Some children who struggle with verbal communication use formal sign language to bridge the gap while they are learning to talk. But beyond that, and for all individuals with and without autism, visual supports and gestures can be used help to clarify verbal information. We all use our hands to gesture when we give directions or describe something, to support our words, and these additional visual cues can help.
Use correct grammar. A child with autism who struggles with language still benefits from hearing many models of correct grammar and language sequencing. In fact, some may demonstrate relative strengths in imitation of your phrases and sentences, and so it is best if they are simple but intact grammatical utterances.
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Autism Causes The Brain To Process Things Differently
Children on the Autism Spectrum process differently things others often take for granted. Crowds, loud noises, and bright or blinking lights, among countless other things, can often lead to extreme anxiety or a total meltdown on the part of the child. As one parent of an autistic child stated, If you are in a supermarket and your child is getting overwhelmed and maybe making a scene, it makes it ten times worse when people around you are giving you dirty looks or making comments.
How To Help A Child With Autism When Theyre Learning At Home
Rusell suggests that the most crucial way parents can support learning at home for their autistic child is to ensure plenty of rest, before they attempt homework.
Expert Tip : Spot the signs that your childs stress cup is full, says Russell. Autistic childrens nervous systems are more easily overloaded than neurotypical childrens.
Parents can support the same strategies as applied in the classroom. Though unlike school they can make learning sessions at home shorter for autistic students much like microlearning methods!
When it comes to home learning, autistic students could need a parent or guardian to be present during their hybrid and blended learning classes at home. Especially if online learning is overwhelming them.
Expert Tip : On-going teletherapy might benefit your autistic child, says Rose Griffin, an ABA speech therapist and host of the Autism Outreach Podcast. As it will continue to help them build their communication skills .;
Griffin, who works with older autistic students, is quite positive that gradually autistic students can independently learn online. As well as enjoy the benefits of the virtual classroom by themselves! ;
At GoStudent, were mindful of the individual needs of each of our students. If your child is autistic, online learning has the flexibility to cater to their specific academic requirements! So book a free-trial with one of our tutors here!;
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