Autism Signs and What to do NOW

I remember the first time I learned how to google on the internet. It was probably my sophomore year in high school. (Yes, it was that long ago!) I thought it was really a great thing then, but I had no idea how much I would actually have to depend on it one day.

Many parents of children with any kind of developmental delay use the internet for knowledge and information. It is essential, really. I can’t imagine not having it to look up all of the many issues of parenthood in general. Take for instance, when your child has a high fever…You don’t have to call anyone in the middle of the night anymore. I just google it and have an answer immediately. That aspect of the internet is fantastic.

The part that is bad… I have had so many mothers ask me about autism symptoms and criteria for diagnosis of autism. This my friends, is when the internet can be a bad thing. I once was talking about my son lining things up as a toddler and immediately another mother I was speaking to got upset. “My son lines up things, too!” So then they get on the computer and start reading and panic. (I myself, have done this many times) 

My point here is…Many kids line things up, spin in circles, have tantrums or like things done a certain way. What parents need to understand is, that you have to meet a certain criteria of SEVERAL  symptoms together to have a diagnosis of autism. Yes, your child may have a quirky way of lining trucks up in a row; but if that is the only thing he is doing then you need not fret! On the other side of that, you can’t just ignore symptoms either because of denial. I have found a link to a website that gives you a list of red flags.  Also, if you’re a Mom you have gut instinct and if you feel like something isn’t quite right then get your child evaluated. This is from

www. autismspeaks.org

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

*This information has been provided by First Signs, Inc. ©2001-2005.  For more information please visit http://www.firstsigns.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/actearly.

Always go to legitimate websites such as the ones I’ve listed above.

My other issue with diagnosis is that many pediatricians lack the training necessary to make this decision about your child. If you have noticed all of these symptoms, but your child’s pediatrician uses the “lets wait and see approach”. RUN. Go to someone who is qualified such as First Steps or an early development program in your state. Indiana’s is

https://www.infirststeps.com/

It drives me crazy when people don’t utilize the sources available to them. So what if your child is delayed a little in speech!! Intervene NOW! Don’t wait until they get into kindergarten and the school decides that they are delayed. The quickest way to help your child is to get them the earliest start possible. I really regret not getting Makenzie evaluated by first steps. (Although girls with autism present themselves differently) I finally came to terms with her delays and got her into the developmental preschool program in our school district. Denial is a very bad thing.

The sooner you find out what is going on with your child, the sooner they can start recovering or getting better. People say that there is no cure for autism….The reason is because every child with autism is completely different then another. You have to evaluate the child’s delays and work on each problem. For instance, with my children, diet was essential to get them on the road to recovery. As you can see from previous blogs and my gluten-free enthusiasm, that my children have had a great response from diet. Do I think every child with autism can be helped on the GFCF diet? Absolutely not. I won’t give people false hope. I do think parents of children with any kind of delay, ADD, autism, ect. should get an allergy test, celiac test, and a sensitivity test before even attempting a diet.

Sensory issues are huge with my children, too. Learning about sensory is a must with autism. These kids have a million things that they have to conquer everyday just to be able to function. Imagine going into a wal-mart or a grocery store and feeling like the lights are 1000 times brighter than they are….Not being able to block out background noises to the point of panick. My kids sleep with a weighted blanket every night. They have O.T. at school and get sensory breaks daily. Sensory Processing Disorder isn’t just a problem with kids on the spectrum of autism. Some kids have sensory issues without having any other delays. One of the best books ever for this is:

The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

When I couldn’t get Kenzie potty trained, I beat myself up about it. I thought I was a bad parent. I got mad. I did everything you are supposed to do to potty train. Nothing. Then, I read this book and felt better than I have in 6 years. I understand my children from reading about sensory processing disorder. I know how to comfort them better because of it.

Many children with autism also struggle socially. One of the first things, Alex use to do at family functions was get under the first table he could find and hide. (This is rare now that we are gluten-free) The many voices, and different faces, questions, and chaos of family gatherings was traumatic for him. The social part of the autism is the part that I have really had to learn about. As a child, and as an adult I have always been very social and outgoing. I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, so it is hard for me to understand what it is like. Being social and having friends is something that people usually just know how to do. My kids have had to learn how to play, talk, and act with friends.

I feel like we are going the right direction with our kids. Sometimes I wish we could do more. The best thing we ever did was seek help and diagnosis. I always wonder how many kids I had in my class growing up that were on that line of autism(high functioning autism). The ones that were always in trouble, couldn’t sit still, socially ackward, and learning disabled. How many of those kids could have had better lives. Maybe they could have been better adults if they would’ve been understood. 

Still today, with all that we know about autism and developmental delays, some people just don’t get it. They want to say it is bad parenting, bad kids, ect. This year we are lucky enough to have wonderful teachers that GET IT. They get it and they don’t make my children feel bad about themselves. Most importantly, they work with me to help my children grow and become the best that they can be.

Bottom line:  If in doubt check it out! Please use all of the above references to make sure your child is helped if needed. Maybe, you are being overly worried and it isn’t anything. It doesn’t matter if you take them to get evaluated and you were wrong. What matters is, that you do everything possible for your kids to have a great start in life.

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