Talking With Older Children And Teenagers About An Autism Diagnosis
If your child is in the process of being diagnosed or has a new autism diagnosis, you might worry about what and how much to tell your child.
Your child will probably have questions about whats going on. These questions can guide what you say just answer them as honestly as you can, at a level your child will understand.
Older autistic children and teenagers often realise theyre different in some ways from other children their age, so dont be afraid to talk with your child about this. You can focus on your childs strengths for example, that your child has an excellent memory, is good with numbers or is very kind to animals. Its also OK to talk about the things that your child finds challenging, like making friends.
Older children and teenagers will react differently to being diagnosed.
Some might feel relieved to have a diagnosis. They can use the diagnosis as a way to understand parts of themselves and to help with the things they find difficult.
But others might need time to come to terms with the diagnosis or find it difficult to adjust. They might even feel scared. Children who were diagnosed when they were younger have grown up with their diagnoses as part of who they are. But older children can feel confused about who they are now. For example, they might feel conflicted about their newly identified additional needs.
Which Treatment Strategies May Help Children With Autism
The main treatment for autism is called applied behavioral analysis . This is a behavioral program that breaks actions and behaviors down into small steps. It encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors. Other treatments include occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and strategies to improve communication, such as using pictures that children can point at to let caregivers know what they want.
Heres the thing: ABA and the other treatments are helpful for children with developmental problems, no matter what their cause. There is no downside to doing them even if the child ultimately is found to have a different problem or no problem at all. They are good for the child with autism, the child with a language disability, or a late bloomer. Yes, its hard for parents to hear a diagnosis of autism. But there is much reason for hope when it comes to autism, and we should never waste time when a child needs help.
The CDCs Act Early campaign has a whole host of resources to help parents and caregivers know if a child is developing normally, or if there might be a problem. If you think there is a problem, ask for help. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
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Talking With Other People About Your Childs Autism Diagnosis
Talking about your childs autism diagnosis with other people might feel strange or hard at first. You might wonder who to tell and what to say. These decisions are up to you and your child but getting things out in the open can really help you and your child. It can also help others to better understand your child.
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What To Do If Your Child Is Diagnosed
If your child receives an autism diagnosis, you might feel overwhelmed and have many questions racing through your mind: Will my child be OK? How will we cope? What does this mean for their future? Where do I even start?
Talk with your pediatrician about services that are available to help autistic kids develop and sharpen their communication, social, motor, and academic skills.
The key is to get educated, find support as early as possible, and have compassion not just for your child but also for yourself.
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Signs Of Autism Meltdown
For some people with autism, sensory overload can become overwhelming. In these situations a person may have a meltdown. A change in routine can also precipitate a meltdown.
A meltdown is not a temper tantrum and can be experienced by someone with autism of any age. A meltdown should be managed by calming the person and addressing the cause of the distress.
Signs that a meltdown may be developing, sometimes known as the rumbling stage, include:
- Nail biting
- Chronic gastritis
- Chronic duodenitis
Many people with autism spectrum disorder also have food intolerances and may find that a diet which excludes gluten or casein helps.
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What Is The Role Of A School Psychologist In Bullying
School psychologists have several key roles to play regarding bullying. Most acutely, they counsel children affected by bullying. In this role they engage with the child and talk to them about the bullying and how that makes the child feel. The aim in this respect is to ensure that a child that is being bullied has a safe place where they can talk about their experiences and that they dont internalize the issue.
A school psychologist will also then work to assess the child displaying the bullying behaviors to try to establish underlying causes and ultimately work with them to address the issues. The aim of this work is to help the child with any difficulties they are having and find ways to replace their bullying behaviors with more positive ones. They can also act as a point of contact for parents of all children involved, providing guidance and support materials to help them also effectively deal with the situation.
School psychologists knowledge and experience of child development, psychology and education leaves them uniquely placed to have a role in prevention of bullying. They can provide a useful insight into constructing effective anti-bullying campaigns and activities and can advise around encouragement of more positive social interactions throughout the school environment.
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Autism Symptoms In Adults
Classic symptoms of autism in children are not always present in adults on the spectrum, especially in those underdiagnosed as children . Adults on the spectrum commonly exhibit symptoms related to social and communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, sensory processing difficulties, and issues with executive function and theory of mind. Short descriptions and lists of common symptoms in adults are listed below .
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Is An Early Diagnosis More Likely To Be Incorrect
Multiple studies have confirmed that autism can be reliably diagnosed by age two with little risk of that diagnosis being invalidated later. Though early diagnoses may require a more definite diagnosis as the child grows older.
A 2006 study found that if children with autism were diagnosed at age two, that diagnosis was very likely to remain consistent by age nine.
However, the study noted that diagnostic stability was less reliable for children whose autism involved less severe presentations, meeting the older definition of PDD-NOS. This conclusion means that children with more typical presentations or who did not outwardly display multiple diagnostic criteria were more likely to affect how soon a child would be diagnosed with autism or have a missed diagnosis.
While medical knowledge has improved in the 14 years since that study was published, it is still possible for a child to delay presentation of ASD until age five or later.
One major factor that can prevent a missed diagnosis is input from parents. Because parents can observe some of the subtler signs or pervasive patterns that a single diagnostic test might miss, clinicians can perform a more thorough diagnosis or re-evaluate as the child ages.
Do I Have Autism A Test For Adults
Awareness of autism spectrum disorder has grown dramatically in recent years, which reflects an increase in autism tests and diagnoses and in the publics understanding that, even late in life, an autism diagnosis can offer major benefits and relief. Still, symptoms of autism particularly those previously associated with Aspergers are still frequently misdiagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder , and other related conditions leading to poor treatment and lifelong challenges. If you recognize yourself or a loved one in the following descriptions of autism spectrum disorder, make an appointment with a health care professional to discuss an evaluation test for autism.
This free autism test was adapted from the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire designed to screen the possibility of ASD, and is for personal use only. This is not a diagnostic tool. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. This autism test is for personal use only.
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Who Should Diagnose Your Child
With so many possible options, who is the right person to diagnose your child? The answer depends, to a large degree, upon who is available. Depending on where you live, you may find that there is a long wait to see a developmental pediatrician, while you can get in to see an experienced child psychologist almost right away. While you might be more impressed with the developmental pediatrician’s credentials, you might decide that the wait is simply too long. If your child really is autistic, early intervention can be very effectiveand the earlier your child starts therapy the better his outcomes are likely to be.
Another issue to consider is money. You may discover that, while a neurologist is covered by insurance, a psychologist is not. In some states, early intervention programs provide free multidisciplinary evaluations in other states, such evaluations may be hard to access.
A word of advice from highly experienced psychologist Dr. Robert Naseef: even if your initial diagnosis comes from a psychologist, it may be worth your while to also consult an M.D. The reason is more political than medical: without an M.D. behind your child’s diagnosis, says Naseef, your local school district may not provide an appropriate array of services.
How Can Teachers Help Students With Autism
Teachers can maintain predictable classroom routines. They can use concrete, specific language, since children with autism perceive language literally. They can incorporate visuals into the lessons to help kids process the material. They can also connect with a students parents to learn tips for working with an individual child. Implementing widespread autism competencies for teachers would ensure that every educator is equipped to serve autistic students.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and autism spectrum disorder are both issues that begin in early childhood and affect the way a childs brain develops. Both can be difficult to diagnose, and they share some of the same characteristics. A closer look reveals that each of these neurodevelopmental conditions is distinct. But is there a link between the two? Is it possible to have both ADHD and autism at the same time? Learn more about these two disorders and their connection.
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The Benefits Of Early Intervention
There is no cure for ASD and theres no consensus on what causes it. Nor is there agreement on whether there is a standard treatment course for it. However, everyone agrees that the earlier intervention begins for children with ASD, the more dramatic of a difference it can make in their lives.
That makes it vitally important to diagnose autism at the earliest possible age in order to optimize outcomes for children with ASD. Diagnosis is ideal when made by the age of 2, which is currently the earliest age that is reliablealthough symptoms can appear as early as 12 to 18 months.
Unfortunately, most children with ASD are not diagnosed until after they are 4 years old, which means they are missing the most opportune time to be getting treatment. There are a variety of reasons for this, including parents reluctance to identify and recognize the severity of the symptoms displayed, as well as a lack of trained professionals.
Once diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible. There is ample evidence that early intervention can improve social and communication skills during infancy and this has the potential to significantly help improve the childs later development. Additionally, early intervention stops problematic behavior from becoming a habit.
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Some People Abuse Self
Some non-autistic people may claim that they are, and then go on to spread misinformation about autism, and/or speak over actual autistic people. Their claim of being autistic gives their words a certain validity when talking about autism, which can make it extremely difficult to convince others that they are really spreading misinformation.
This is harmful, and it needs to be acknowledged and addressed.However, the conclusion that self-diagnosis is the problem in this scenario is false.
Self-diagnosis isnt the reason why this happens. And not accepting self-diagnosis doesnt stop this from happening either. Non-autistic people abusing self-diagnosis doesnt mean self-diagnosis is bad. It means abusing self-diagnosis is bad.
I have witnessed self-diagnosed autistic people harm autistic people.I have witnessed professionally diagnosed autistic people harm autistic people.I have witnessed non-autistic people harm autistic people.
Anyone, autistic or not, professionally diagnosed or not, needs to get well educated about autism before they start spreading any sort of autism information. Nobody, autistic or not, professionally diagnosed or not, should harm autistic people.
The problem of people spreading misinformation isnt created by self-diagnosis.The problem of people speaking for and over autistic people isnt created by self-diagnosis.
These problems are created by people who decide to do bad things.We should fight against that instead of falsely blaming self-diagnosis.
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Professional Diagnosis Is Biased
Autism was originally considered a childhood disorder. Moreover, it was seen as a male thing . Autism was also first described and diagnosed in white circles.
These biases still exist today. Yes, advocates and activists work incredibly hard to dismantle them, and are making progress. But its too little too late for many autistic people.
Girls and women are still under-diagnosed, and dont even get me started on trans people. Adults are getting diagnosed more now, but its still difficult to find capable professionals for an adult autism diagnosis. Anyone who isnt white may struggle to get an autism diagnosis. BIPOC are horrendously under-diagnosed. And besides not getting diagnosed at all, getting misdiagnosed with other conditions also happens a lot.
All of these biases mean that anyone who isnt stereotypically presenting, cis, male, white, and a child may not receive an official autism diagnosis, even though they are autistic.
Who Can Diagnose Ld And/or Adhd
Many professionals are involved in the diagnosis of LD. They include psychologists, educational specialists, and other professionals who work in specialized fields such as speech and language. This table explains the role of some of the professionals who provide services. Recall that many of these professionals can suspect LD and/or ADHD but all are not licensed, or have the needed certifications to diagnose the disorders. It is always important to ask the professional about his/her credentials. When you go to a person in a private practice, not in the school system, it is important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD and/or ADHD.
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What Are The 3 Main Symptoms Of Autism
Autism or autistic spectrum disorder can manifest as different symptoms in different children. The average age of diagnosis is 2 years, though some children may be detected at around the age of 5 years.
The symptoms to look out for in children for suspected autism are:
- Delayed milestones
- A socially awkward child
- The child who has trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication
Delayed Milestones: Every child starts cooing, rolling over, babbling, smiling, pointing, and sitting up at an expected age. These are called milestones. Though every child grows at their own pace, you must visit the pediatrician if:
- The child does not smile by the age of 6 months
- The child has no facial expressions by the age of 9 months
- The child does not make cooing noises or babble by the age of 12 months
- No pointing or waving by the age of 12 months
- The child does not speak by the age of 16 months
Signs of social awkwardness: You must be concerned if your child
- Avoids eye contact while you feed him
- Prefers to play alone
- Does not respond to their name
- Does not like being touched
- Prefers fixed routines and even a minor change may upset them greatly
- Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them
Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication:
- Echolalia: They keep repeating words over and over
- They talk in a flat tone, devoid of expressions
- They do not understand emotions in a conversation
- Have difficulty communicating what they want
If You Are Told You Are Not Autistic
Sometimes people are told they arenât autistic, and sometimes they may be given a diagnosis they donât agree with.
You can seek a second opinion, which either means going back to your GP to explain that you arenât happy with your diagnosis and ask them to refer you elsewhere, or paying for a private assessment.
If you go for a second assessment, remember that it may reach the same conclusion as your first.
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What Can Specialist Services Such As The Priory Offer
Priory is in a unique position as it offers services throughout the lifespan of those with ASD. Services are available to offer a diagnostic assessment but the group also offers treatment plans, special educational school and residential services for adults with autism.
Once a diagnosis is made by a consultant psychiatrist, for adults or young people at Priory, clear recommendations are made. Post diagnosis follow up is offered, often involving family therapy to help with psycho-education regarding which behaviours are due to autism, which are not, and how to manage all unhelpful behaviours.
In some cases, medication may be used and this can be prescribed and safely monitored by Priory clinicians while ensuring the medication is leading to positive outcomes.
This page was reviewed byDr Van Zwanenberg , Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Oxford
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding young people’s mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or . For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here