How To Test A Child For Autism
You may ask your childs healthcare provider to periodically check your child for signs of autism with a developmental screening test. A screening test alone will not result in a diagnosis but can indicate if your child should see a specialist. A developmental pediatrician, child psychologist or psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or other specialist can conduct a formal developmental evaluation.
Early Signs Of Autism In Babies May Include:
- Smiling rarely in social situations
- Unexpected reactions to new faces
- Little or no eye contact
- Doesnt respond to their name
- Doesnt turn their head to locate sound or react to loud sounds
- Overreacts to sounds
- Displays a lack of social anticipation. For example, baby doesnt reach out their arms to be picked up, or doesnt seem to understand the game of Peek-a-Boo.
- Doesnt use chatter or babble
- Doesnt use gestures such as pointing or waving in context.
- Dislikes being cuddled or touched
- Displays repetitive and unusual body movements.
When Should I Tell My Child They Have Autism
When to tell your child they have autism depends on their age, cognitive ability and social awareness, as well as your readiness to have the conversation, says Arnold. Theres no right age. It depends on the child and the family, she says, adding that its not a one-time conversation but an ongoing process.
In general, though, the experts agree that the earlier you start the dialogue, the better. This doesnt just ensure the news comes from you starting early also allows you to tap into younger kids accepting nature. Its only as kids become older and start to acquire the prejudices of society at large that they see those differences as negative things, Smith says. Starting earlier allows you to help break down the stigma and capitalize on this more positive view that were all different and were all of value.
Dundon recommends setting the stage for the conversation before the assessment even happens. You wouldnt say, Were going to assess if youre autistic, but you might say, Were going to see some people to get a bit more of an idea of how your brain works, she says. Then, after the assessment, you can tell them what the results are.
Some kids will have these thoughts but not express them, so its important to check in with other people involved in your childs care to see if theyve noticed any changes.
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Who Tells/where To Tell
Certainly circumstances vary from family to family. If your child is asking questions dont put off answering them. You should be forthcoming and not suggest talking about it later. Not providing an answer could increase the childs anxiety and make the topic and information more mysterious.
For many families, using a knowledgeable professional to begin the disclosure process instead of a family member or a friend of the family might be the best option. Having a professional involved, at least in the beginning stages of disclosure, leaves the role of support and comfort to the family and those closest to the child. For someone with an autism spectrum disorder, it can be especially hard to seek comfort from someone who gives you news that can be troubling and confusing. Having a professional whose role is clearly to discuss information about the childs diagnosis and how the disability is affecting his/herlife can make it easier for family members to be seen by the child as supportive. The professional discussing information with the child about his/her disability can also help the parents understand the childs reaction and provide suggestions for supporting their child. Having a professional involved also allows the use of a location outside of the family home for beginning this process.
Dont Be Afraid To Try Something New
Horse therapy, social skills groups, swim lessons, music, art there may not be a strong research base for all of these programs, but if your child is happy and successful in them, keep it up! Not every therapy has to be about data and progress recreation and leisure may be just as important to a well-rounded childs development.
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Other Signs Of Autism In 4
These signs are usually accompanied by some of the other signs listed above:
ASD encompasses a broad range of signs and symptoms. An autistic child may need minimal support in some aspects of their life and more significant support in other aspects.
An autistic child who needs minimal support may have:
- little interest in social interactions or social activities
- difficulty initiating social interactions or maintaining conversations
- trouble with appropriate communication
- trouble adapting to changes in routine or behavior
- difficulty making friends
An autistic child who needs a moderate amount of support, or who needs daily support, may have:
- difficulty coping with a change to their routine or surroundings
- a significant lack of verbal and nonverbal communication skills
- severe and obvious behavioral challenges
- repetitive behaviors that interfere with their daily life
- an unusual or a reduced ability to communicate or interact with others
- narrow, specific interests
An autistic child who needs significant support on a daily basis may:
What Age Does Autism Usually Show Up
The behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in the childs development. Many children show symptoms of autism between 12 and 18 months of age or earlier, but in others autism may not become obvious until the age of 2 or 3 years. The age of diagnosis, as well as the range and severity of symptoms, can vary widely and so professional evaluation is critical.
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May Be Easily Startled By Sounds Or Agitated By Background Noise
Although all children may exhibit adverse reactions to loud sounds, children with ASD have a particularly strong aversion to loud noises that may cause them to react by grimacing or wincing, rather than showing surprise or a normal wide-eyed curiosity.
It may be symptomatic of autism if you see your child convey their strongest emotions in the form of an adverse reaction to the music or TV being turned up too loud or if adults in the room are having a loud and animated conversation or if other children are playing nearby are making loud sounds or even when you run the vacuum cleaner.
This is something worth paying close attention to.
Because children with autism process the world around them differently, they may have trouble filtering out irrelevant sounds coming from the microwave or washing machine sounds that would disappear as white noise in the background for neorotypical children.
These reactions may result in fits, crying, anger, or even physically aggressive behaviorthe reaction differs based on the child and the severity of their sensitivity to noise.
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.
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How And When To Tell A Child They Have Been Diagnosed With Autism
While experts say there is no ‘right way’ to tell your child they have autism, there are a number of things to consider
For parents of children with autism, the initial diagnosis can be a lot to take in.
While some will be diagnosed at a young age, for others it can take a long time before the condition is confirmed.
So when it comes to explaining it to the child, some families can find themselves struggling to know how or what to say.
And with each child affected in so many different ways, there is no strict path to follow.
The National Autistic Society acknowledges that there ‘isn’t one ‘right’ way to tell your child about their diagnosis’, but it does offer families some points to consider.
Manchester mum Abigail Smith’s son Alfie was diagnosed with autism at the age of eight.
While she’s not specifically sat him down to explain he has the condition, she’s mentioned some of his differences to him and what makes him special.
“I always knew Alfie was a little different and it is a long process, especially as Alfie is verbal and high functioning,” she said.
“I have never sat Alfie down and said to him directly he has autism – I don’t think he would understand and it would probably make him worry more than anything else and to be honest I wouldn’t even know what to say and where to start.
“I’ve tended to give him bits of information as we’re going along telling him he is a little different to others but that’s OK, because nobody is the same and he’s special.”
Im Great Ive Got Aspergers Syndrome
The child hasnt quite understood what the syndrome is about, and thinks its some kind of special game or title. Your child may feel relieved – at last they know why they have always felt different.
You may like to use these basic tools when youve made the step to share the diagnosis with your child.
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What Does An Autism Diagnosis Mean For My Child
An autism diagnosis can result in some beneficial effects, but also comes with associated risks, disadvantages, and contraindications. Once your child is diagnosed with autism, you can expect your doctor to devise a specific treatment plan, comprised of therapy and/or medication to help your child function more easily in daily life. You can also seek specific guidance and support for your child to thrive at school. Despite these benefits, a diagnosis of autism also come with the risk of social stigmatization for the child. There is also a range of physical and mental-health conditions that frequently accompany autism including but not limited to: gastrointestinal problems, epilepsy, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
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 Should You Not Say To A Child With Autism
5 things to NEVER say to someone with Autism:
- Dont worry, everyones a little Autistic. No.
- You must be like Rainman or something. Here we go again not everyone on the spectrum is a genius.
- Do you take medication for that? This breaks my heart every time I hear it.
- I have social issues too.
- You seem so normal!
On The Subject Of Siblings
Chances are that any siblings, even those who are quite young, already have a sense that something is going on with a brother or sister who has an ASD. They may feel embarrassed by their siblings behavior or mannerisms, frightened by their sibling’s outbursts, or sad when their sibling won’t play with them like other children do. They may sense their parents’ worry about a brother or sister, they may worry about a stressed-out parent in turn, or they may feel conflicted about the enormous amount of attention, time, and money being devoted to the child with a disability. 12
Keeping them in the dark can leave them prone to arriving at their own, potentially scary conclusions: My brothers crazy or Its my fault this is happening or I am responsible for taking care of my sister so nobody gets upset. Experts recommend having a conversation with them about their sibling’s autism early on. 13This conversation will likely need to be repeated over the years as their understanding, concerns, and questions evolve.
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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?
Why Should I Tell My Child They Have Autism
If you dont tell your child they have autism, theres a good chance someone else will let it slip, or your child will eventually figure it out themselves, says Kelly Price, a registered psychologist who assesses children for autism in Victoria, B.C. This is particularly true if your child is participating in programs and receiving services for people with autism because the A-word is bound to come up, he adds. You dont want someone else to spill the beans before youve had the opportunity to describe it yourself, he says, adding that its unfair for parents to withhold information about their child from them when they reach a certain age, and their child may feel betrayed if they do so.
Dundon adds that kids may feel ashamed if they find out theyre autistic from someone other than their parents because it may seem like their parents were trying to hide it. She says its important for kids to know that theyre autistic because it helps them understand who they are, particularly in relation to their peers. Kids do sense that theyre different, and not helping them see why isnt okay, she says. It causes distress because they cant fit in, they dont know why things are difficult for them, they feel like theres something wrong with them. When they do find out, its like, Oh, that explains it. But Ive had all of these years of thinking that I was somehow less than my peers and that there was something wrong.
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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.
Learn To Listen Without Your Ears
Learn to listen with your eyes. Having a delay in speech development or being nonverbal does not mean your child isnt communicating. Everything we do, even silence, is communication. The sooner you understand how your child communicates, the easier it will be to interact and respond to their language.
Speech therapy may focus on a number of aspects, including:
- nonverbal communication
- social pragmatics
Just remember: Everything your child does it trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen!
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Repeats Same Syllables Words And/or Sounds
The repeating of words and sounds is common with autism spectrum and often children will repeat words in a robot voice or in a sing-song tone of voice.
A robotic sounding voice is pretty self-explanatory. But a sing-song tone of voice is often demonstrated by children repeating words in a form of a question. In other words, words or sentences that are not a question are asked in question form with an influx in tone of voice.
Until I saw this sign on a list of symptoms for autism spectrum I didnt recognize my own son doing it. Now I cannot unsee it. My son does repeat the same syllable non-sense words and asks them in the form of a question.
The Moral Is Wait Until The Answer Will Benefit Them And Then Waste No Time
Heres a table demonstrating the factors of telling your children about their autism.
I have written this objectively, in the full knowledge that some children could wait until they are older, whilst some children are better off knowing from a young age.
I suggest you read each of the points, and focus on the ones which resonate with your child the most. They may be an indicator of whether the time is right. Others can be ignored depending on your childs personality and circumstances.
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How To Tell Your Child That He Has Autism
Dr. William Chen | January 6, 2018
Parents of children on the autism spectrum often balk at breaking the news of a diagnosis to their son or daughter after all, while they know that they will always love and accept their autistic child because of, and not in spite of, who he is, there’s no way to be sure that the child will feel the same way. Parents are all too aware of the stigma that comes with being and feeling different, and as such, they sometimes mistakenly believe that hiding their child’s autism diagnosis may be healthier for him. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth: To be comfortable with himself, your child must first learn to know himself.