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.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine Treatments
To relieve the symptoms of ASD, some parents and healthcare professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians. These treatments are known as complementary and alternative medicine treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services that are used in addition to or instead of traditional medicine. They might include special diets, dietary supplementsexternal icon, chelation , biologicals , or mind-body medicine .
Many of these treatments have not been studied for effectiveness moreover, a review of studies on chelation found some evidence of harm and no evidence to indicate it is effective in treating children with ASD . Current research shows that as many as one-third of parents of children with ASD may have tried CAM treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment . Before starting such a treatment, talk to your childs doctor.
To learn more about CAM therapies for ASD, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines Autismexternal icon webpage. The FDA has information about potentially dangerous treatments hereexternal icon.
Help For People With Autism Who Care For Other People
If you have children or you care for other people, you should be offered support.
If you have children or you care for other people, you should be offered support, such as childcare, so that you can attend appointments and support groups and also continue with or start college or a job. If you are a parent, professionals should offer you support and advice in your parenting role, which may include a parent training course .
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High School Students With Autism
The teenage years can be a difficult time for those on the autism spectrum and their families. Like any teenager, they may have to deal with issues including sexuality, bullying, anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.
It can be hard to know when to start talking about puberty and how to explain some of the changes they are going through. Be as open and as honest as you can and let them know you are there for them all the time, even if they do not want to talk. Visit the Family Planning Victoria website for useful information on sexuality and people with a disability.
Some teenagers on the autism spectrum may be teased and bullied. Find more information on how to support your teenager on the autism spectrum on the Amaze website.
Approaching the time to leave school may result in a high level of anxiety for a young person on the autism spectrum and their family as they determine their next steps. There are a number of resources and supports that may be of assistance.
The Department of Education and Training’s Strengthened Pathways Planning for young people with disabilities – Parent Information provides guidance for parents on careers and transition planning for young people with disabilities. Links to relevant information, resources and services are included.
The document can be found at the Department’s website.
Important Lessons Autistic People Have Taught Me
This moms understanding of autism and her own son changed radically after reading the writings of autistic people and talking with them.
Since my son got an autism diagnosis five years ago, Ive learned a lot about how to help him learn, grow, and thrive. In the beginning, much of this advice came from books written by parents and experts, but my understanding of autism, neurodiversity, and my own son changed radically when I started reading the writings of autistic people and talking with them. Because of this, Id like to take a moment to elaborate on six of the most important lessons Ive learned so far from autistic people.
1. They are autistic, not people with autism.
Although there is a strong push for person-first language in the mainstream media and in therapeutic circles, the autistic community pushes back against that, arguing that autism is neurology, not disease. Therefore, we should talk about it like an attribute of a person, not an affliction. If we truly want to accept autistic people, we cant be constantly pathologizing an essential part of them.
2. My voiceand other parent voicesshould not monopolize the conversation on autism.
3. Compliance training can be incredibly damaging.
4. Ableism runs deep in our culture, and we should fight against it.
5. The future holds so much possibility.
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Start Learning Executive Functioning Skills While Still In High School
Executive functioning skills include time management, organization, self-starting, and problem-solving. According to Dr. Lee, students with ASD who focus on developing these skills during high school can set themselves up for success in college.
You need strong executive functioning skills in all aspects of college academic life, says Dr. Lee. Practice managing your own schedule. Initiate your work and monitor your progress.
What Can I Expect From Health And Social Care Professionals
Health and social care professionals should work with you, and your family, partner or carer if they are involved, so that you can make decisions about your care. They should encourage you to manage your own condition, if possible. This may include helping you to recognise signs that you are finding it hard to cope. They should offer care and support respectfully, and they should be supportive, understanding and not critical of you or your lifestyle. Ideally once you and a professional have established a good working relationship this should continue throughout your care. However, if you do not feel supported by the professional responsible for your care, you should have the opportunity to transfer your care to another professional.
Health and social care professionals should be easy to identify , they should tell you what they do and they should be friendly and welcoming. They should address you using the name and title you prefer. Professionals should clearly explain any medical language and check that you fully understand what is being said about your care and support options.
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Use Visuals And Social Stories
A choice board is an excellent example of a visual. Many children with autism need visual reminders, prompts, and social stories throughout the day to stay on task and be successful. Using a variety of visuals in the form of pictures, flip charts, posters, and cards help support students needs. They are used to prepare students for transitions, to help make choices, to give them answer options to questions, etc.
Social stories, in particular, are used to prepare children with autism for upcoming events or for transitions. Some stories are only simple sentences while others incorporate many visuals for non-readers. An example of a situation in which a student might need a social story is if little Johnny often has problem behaviors right before it is time to get on the school bus at the end of the day. His teacher creates a social story with visuals to read with him once he cleans his area up for the day and is waiting for his bus to be called. It consists of four simple sentences and describes why it is important for Johnny to get on the bus and the steps he must take to make it there. Johnny and his teacher will continue to read his social story each day, then periodically after once problem behaviors have ceased.
There are so many pre-made social stories online for all sorts of situations and the site Your Therapy Source guides individuals through making their own from scratch.
Autism In The Teen Years: What To Expect How To Help
What parent doesn’t watch their “tween” become a teen without a twinge of anxiety? Factor autism into the equation, and parents may well wonder how the physical and hormonal changes of adolescence will affect their child on the spectrum.
How will typical teenage rebellion look in someone who struggles with behavioral control? What will it be like traversing the social minefield of high school for someone with a social disability?
Many a teen boy has had to be convinced of the need for daily showers and shaving. How do you convince someone who has sensory problems to stand under water or drag a sharp razor across his face?
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Education And School Planning
At school, a plan can be made to support and structure your childs learning. A committee identifies the needs of exceptional students. When they have identified these needs, they create a plan with help from the student and their parents or guardian. This is called an individual education plan .
Support at school should include behavioural, social and academic approaches. A team of professionals usually puts the plan together based on the child’s strengths and weaknesses. It may include solutions such as:
- various therapies
- opportunities to interact with peers
Tips For Staying Calm
Of course, the best way to be calm is to stay calm to start with. That means teaching your child how to manage his or her own feelings.
There are some techniques which, while not failproof, can make a big positive difference. Many are related to sensory integration therapyan approach which helps people with sensory dysfunction to manage challenging situations. These techniques include:
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Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Options
Are you wondering, how do you cope with an adult autism diagnosis? If so, its important to remember that autism is not a disease, so you are under no obligation to seek treatment. However, therapy can help you significantly reduce your symptoms and improve your ability to deal with the stressors of everyday life.
Individuals who treat their ASD typically undergo a blend of verbal, cognitive, and behavioral therapies. Your therapist will work closely with you to design a customized treatment plan based on your unique challenges. These may include depression and anxiety, struggles at work, feelings of isolation, or family problems. By contextualizing ASD within your everyday life, you can create practical ways to manage your symptoms.
How Do I Get Help For Autism
If you, or a healthcare professional, family member, partner or carer, think that you have autism you should be offered an assessment.
You can get help for autism in a variety of ways, including seeing your GP or by contacting or visiting health or social care services yourself.
If you, or a healthcare professional, family member, partner or carer, think that you have autism, and you were not diagnosed as a child, you should be offered an assessment. If you were diagnosed with autism as a child, you may be offered an assessment in adulthood if you are being transferred from a service for children to an adult service.
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Living With An Autism Diagnosis
Receiving an ASD diagnosis as an adult could mean a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to the world. And it can help you learn how to better work with your strengths and strengthen areas of your life that are challenging.
Getting diagnosed can help you gain a different perspective on your childhood. It can also help those around you to understand and empathize more with your unique characteristics.
Better understanding the set of challenges you face can help you find new and inventive ways to work with or around those challenges. You can also work with your clinician and your family to seek treatments that may be right for you.
School Assistance For Children On The Autism Spectrum
Preparing a child on the autism spectrum for school can sometimes be a complicated process. Each child has unique strengths and skills and may require a personalised learning and support plan, so the sooner you begin planning the better.
Think about which school might be best and talk to the teachers and staff about your child’s needs. If they are receptive, welcoming and willing to be flexible, book a visit. It is a good idea to go alone on your first visit so you can openly discuss your child’s strengths and needs.
Deciding on the school is only the first step. Staying engaged and providing ongoing support is important so that your child can adjust well to their new environment. Visit the Amaze website for more information on preparing your child for school.
website also provides information to assist parents of children on the autism spectrum to prepare for the transition to school.
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Ways To Help Your Child With Autism And Adhd Improve Executive Function
Does your child or teen struggle with keeping their things organized, planning school projects, paying attention or being able to remember certain steps of a task? Your child with autism and ADHD may lack executive function skills. In fact, many people who are on the spectrum and/or have ADHD have a hard time with executive function. So how can you as a parent help your child learn these important life skills?
Behavior And Communication Approaches
According to reports by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Research Council, behavior and communication approaches that help children with ASD are those that provide structure, direction, and organization for the child in addition to family participation .
Applied Behavior Analysis A notable treatment approach for people with ASD is called applied behavior analysis . ABA has become widely accepted among healthcare professionals and used in many schools and treatment clinics. ABA encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors to improve a variety of skills. The childs progress is tracked and measured.
There are different types of ABA. Here are some examples:
- Discrete Trial Training DTT is a style of teaching that uses a series of trials to teach each step of a desired behavior or response. Lessons are broken down into their simplest parts, and positive reinforcement is used to reward correct answers and behaviors. Incorrect answers are ignored.
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention This is a type of ABA for very young children with ASD, usually younger than 5 and often younger than 3. EIBI uses a highly structured teaching approach to build positive behaviors and reduce unwanted behaviors . EIBI takes place in a one-on-one adult-to-child environment under the supervision of a trained professional.
- Early Start Denver Model
There are other therapies that can be part of a complete treatment program for a child with ASD:
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What Happens After I Have Been Assessed
If you have been diagnosed with autism, you should be offered another appointment to discuss the diagnosis, what it means for you, any concerns you have and care and support for the future. You should be offered this appointment even if you have decided not to have further care and support.
Professionals should put together a plan for your care that takes into account your needs and those of your family, partner or carer.
The decision about what kind of care and support options to have will depend on your preference and a number of other factors, including:
whether you have had any support for autism or other problems in the past and how helpful it was
how severe your autism is and how it affects your daily life
whether you have a learning disability or physical or mental health problem, how severe it is and how long you have had it
whether any sensory sensitivities could affect any support you are offered
any problems that could lead to a crisis.
Professionals should be sensitive and supportive if you feel anxious about making decisions about your care. They should also be aware that if they are providing care and support they need to be clear and consistent.
You should be given information about the care and support options available, including what they involve and how long they will last, whether they are suitable for most people with autism, and whether they will affect any other treatment you are having.
How To Calm A Child With Autism
There are certain calming do’s and don’ts that apply to most children with autism. These are based on the factors that autistic children have in common, specifically:
- Difficulty with understanding social norms and conventions
- Difficulty with following or using non-verbal communication
- Unawareness of others’ likely reactions to behaviors
- Sensory challenges that can get in the way of positive behaviors
- Lack of social motivation
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Causes Of Anxiety And Meltdowns
Unlike their typical peers, few autistic children “throw fits” in order to garner more attention or to get a desired outcome . In most cases, autistic children react to physical or emotional stress without any particular agenda they are simply expressing feelings of excitement, frustration, or anxiety or responding to sensory assaults.
The reality is that children with autism, in general, may have less control over their emotions than their typical peers as a result, emotional explosions are more common.
It’s not always easy for a neurotypical parent to predict or even recognize situations likely to upset a child with autism. Ordinary changes in a daily routine such as a detour on the way to school can be terribly upsetting to some autistic children .
Odors such as the smell of fresh paint can be a sensory assault. Even the fluorescent lights at the grocery store can be overwhelming to certain individuals.
At the same time, however, any individual child may react differently to the same situation from day to day. An overwhelming stressor on Tuesday can be experienced as background noise on Thursday.
In general, it’s possible to predict at least some stressors and minimize them. For example:
- Very loud noises such as the sound of fireworks are easy to predict and avoid or minimize.
- Major changes in routine can be predicted, discussed, practiced, and planned for,
- Unavoidable noise and smells can be managed and planned for in advance.