Krista has worked with children who have special needs for many years of her life. She also has a young teen who was diagnosed with autism.
How Do I Know if My Child Has Autism?
Autism is a hot topic right now. Several celebrities have announced that their child is autistic: This has brought an awareness to this disability and caused people to wonder whether or not their child is on the spectrum.
No one wants to think that something is wrong with their child, but when a parent sees or hears something about autism, they start to wonder.
There are lots of symptoms, and they vary with each child. Just because your child may have a few symptoms of autism doesn’t mean they are autistic. There are many conditions that share the same symptoms, and some children are just late in reaching developmental milestones. Each child develops at their own pace. Therefore, just because your child isn’t talking before they are a year old doesn’t mean that they have autism.
If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with their physician. They will be able to advise you whether or not you should pursue further testing. Many parents try to self-diagnose their child’s condition, which is a huge mistake.
How Autism Is Diagnosed
In order to get an accurate diagnosis, you need to consult several medical professionals. This is not something that will be done in one appointment at your child’s pediatrician. There will be a team of medical professionals that will be evaluating your child. The earlier you have your child evaluated, the more likely you will find viable treatment options for your child.
You can't diagnose your own child. Sometimes, as a parent, you have a gut instinct that there’s something that’s not right. If you feel that your child is having some issues, and the physician disagrees, find another physician. You must be the voice for your child. On the other hand, if your doctor says not to worry, then perhaps you might avoid comparing your child with others. Every child is an individual who will grow and develop at their own pace. They may be late reaching some milestones while they excel at others.
Learning whether or not your child has autism is a process. This diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for both you and your child. Once you have gotten the diagnosis, you can begin treatment. On the other hand, if your child is not diagnosed with autism, you can move on to find out what is causing your child’s issues.
Read More From Wehavekids
10 Signs Your Child Should Be Evaluated for Autism
There are 10 signs that suggest that your child should be evaluated. These are as follows:
- Doesn’t make eye contact
- Doesn’t communicate with sounds or words
- Doesn’t show emotion
- Doesn’t engage in pretend play
- Uses repetitive motions
- Struggles with schedule changes
- Doesn’t respond (with looks or words) when you’re talking to them
- Does things repetitively
- Loses skills they once knew
- Develops attachment to certain foods or smells (which is a sensory issue)
Diagnosis or Gut Feeling?
No parent ever wants to think there’s something wrong with their child. However, as a parent, you should trust your gut. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to discuss it with your child’s physician. It’s very important to get an official diagnosis and a treatment plan. On the other hand, it’s also important that you don’t worry over every little thing. Some children just take a bit longer to hit the developmental milestones.
Advice From Parents of Autistic Children
Was Your Child Just Diagnosed With Autism? Loving Advice From One Mother to Another, written by a mom who, upon getting her son's autism diagnosis, set out to "cure" him, neglecting her marriage, her other child, and her own well-being.
Five Tips for Parents When You Find Out Your Child Has Autism, written by a mother of a child who was diagnosed high-risk for autism with sensory processing issues.
Mayo Clinic. “Autism Spectrum Disorder - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928.
“Autism: Helping You Understand the Disorder.” Mayo Clinic Health System, www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/autism-helping-you-understand-the-disorder/.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Krista Mounsey