Does My Child Have Autism?

We are seeing more and more about autism in the news right now. A number of celebrities have made it public that they have autistic children. People in general are becoming more aware of autism, and the question often comes up as to whether their child is autistic.

None of us wants to think that our children have anything wrong with them. However, when we see a news report, or hear reports about children who have autism, we may begin to have questions about our own children.

There are many symptoms of autism, and they will be different for each child. Even though you see some of the symptoms of autism in your child, you should not assume that they are autistic. Other medical conditions have some of the same symptoms. Many begin talking when they are around one year old. This is one of the developmental milestones. However, some children reach this developmental milestone later. Each child has his or her own rate of development. The fact that your child does not begin talking by the time he or she is one year old could be a sign of autism, but it does not necessarily mean that they have autism.

If you are concerned about your child’s rate of development, you should talk with their primary care provider. They will be able to advise you as to whether further testing is indicated. It can be a big mistake for parents to try to self-diagnose their children. Several qualified medical professionals are needed to accurately diagnose Autism in a child. One appointment at the child’s pediatrician will not be sufficient. A team of health care professionals will be necessary to properly evaluate your child. It is important to have your child evaluated, and earlier evaluation will give a better chance of identifying the right treatment to help the child.

Remember that your child is an individual and try not to make comparisons of your child with other children. Children grow and develop at their own individual rates. A child may reach some milestones later than others, and they may reach some earlier than others. Sometimes parent feel instinctively that something is wrong. If you feel that gut instinct that your child has problems, but the child’s doctor does not agree, do not hesitate to get a second opinion. Parents know their children better than anyone and it is up to them to be the voice for their child.

Learning whether your child is autistic can take time. It will likely be a life changing experience for both the parents and the child. When you have found that your child is autistic, you will be able begin the process of finding the right course of treatment. If you find that autism is not what is causing your child’s problems, you will still be better able to determine what kind of help is needed.

Some of the indicators that your child needs further evaluation include:

  1. Little or no eye contact
  2. Poor or no communication. This can include sounds, or words.
  3. Little or no demonstration of emotions.
  4. Does not pretend play.
  5. Tends to use repetitive motions.
  6. Schedule changes cause problems.
  7. Does not respond with words or looks whn you talk to them.
  8. Does the same things over and over again.
  9. Loses skills they once knew.
  10. Develops attachments to certain foods, or smells, or has other sensory issues.

Talk to the doctor if you observe signs such as these in your child. It is very important to get a diagnosis and establish a plan for treatment. But do not be overly concerned about little things. Remember, it just takes a little longer for some children to develop and reach the milestones.