WGTS Health Minute - Autism Awareness Month
What are some behaviors children may exhibit if they haven’t been diagnosed with Autism?
Symptoms can vary and every child is unique, however, some behaviors may include:
· Difficulty participating in conversations
· Trouble connecting with others’ thoughts or feelings
· Difficulty making eye contact or reading facial expressions
· Delayed speech or communication skills
· Unexpected reactions to sounds, tastes, touch, sights or smells
How is Autism diagnosed?
There is no medical test that can determine if a child is on the autism spectrum. As a first step, a child’s pediatrician can assess their development and behaviors to diagnose them as early as 18 months. If further evaluation is needed, the pediatrician can refer the child to a specialist.
A specialist may evaluate them by observing the child to see how they play and communication with others or by asking them to perform certain tasks to see if they can follow directions.
What happens after children have been diagnosed with Autism?
Early intervention is an important aspect of helping the child develop social, behavioral and communication skills early. It’s important to learn how to advocate for the child to help them navigate the outside world.
You should also investigate additional support for not only the child, but the whole family. Programs that can help include:
· Occupational and physician therapy
· Speech and vocal therapy
· Behavioral and emotional therapy
· Social skill building groups
· Developmental therapy
If you have a child that has been diagnosed, remember to take care of yourself as well. An Autism diagnosis can be stressful and hard to navigate at first. Talk to other parents with children that have been diagnosed with Autism to find out how they cope or join an advocacy group.