4 Signs Your Child May be Autistic

Autism is a disorder that can be hard to diagnose, and even harder to treat.  With early intervention, however, much of Autism’s noticeable outward symptoms can be greatly decreased or even eradicated. Coping skills can be introduced at the right time, and Therapy for a variety of sensory issues can be started early enough to help a child learn coping abilities. Therefore, it is imperative to diagnose Autism as early as possible.  The signs can be hard to recognize if you don’t know what you are looking for, however.  Here are a few signs to help you know when to talk to your doctor.

  1. Lack of expression.

The first thing many parents recognize in hindsight is their child’s lack of expression.  If you aren’t seeing any big smiles or major signs of emotion (especially related to happiness and curiosity), this could be something to bring up with your doctor.  One of the most universal and noticeable aspects of Autism, this is a sign that you can easily look out for. If you are attempting to play with your child and have fun, and they are not responding to your attempts to play and create an enjoyable atmosphere, it may be time to start keeping an eye on things.  There are some children that simply aren’t very prone to laughing – my son is like this.  He rarely laughs, but often shows curiosity and will crack a smile.  That is perfectly OK – not smiling or reacting is not.

Autism

  1. Lack of conversing.

Another early sign of Autism can be the lack of verbal skills.  By a time a baby is 9 months old, they should be starting to vocalize in a conversational style.  If your child is not conversing with you by this point, it will become something to watch for carefully.  Some babies are late bloomers, but you should be seeing something around this time.  It doesn’t have to be complete babbling – for example, my son with make sigh noises at me, blow bubbles, growl, etc. – if they are clearly in response to something you do or say, this is fine. If they have no reaction whatsoever, it’s time to start paying attention and address the issue.

  1. Lack of vocabulary.

If your baby is not actively babbling as a conversation tool by 12 months, this is something to address. In addition, if your baby has no vocabulary by 16 months, it is time to address the issue.  Sometimes, this can be attributed to a child not being exposed to speech often enough.  When you are home, make sure you are consistently talking to your child and interacting with them. If you are actively interacting, they should start to develop language skills between 12 – 16 months.  If this is simply not happening, address the issue with you doctor.  They may just be a late bloomer – My uncle didn’t speak a word until he was 3 – but if you notice this, bring it up with your doctor for them to evaluate.

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The Challenges of Parenting a Child with Asperger’s

Aspergers Syndrome

Having a child with Asperger’s Syndrome is difficult but not impossible.  While the symptoms are certainly not a result of anything your child did or didn’t do, he will still feel the consequences of his actions and behavior.

Here are some tips that will help you relate to your child with Aspberger’s.

Patience

One of the hardest things for parents to do is step back and try not to nag their child.  If there’s something that’s bothering you, try to explain your concerns to your child when she’s able to listen not in the middle of a meltdown.

Part of patience in this instance is to not cloak your child with your wisdom.  When she’s having a particularly difficult day, try to decide if this is a battle that needs to be fought or something that can be left for another day.  If you think that professional intervention is the only way to go, certainly make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Celebrate

This may seem like an unusual suggestion, but see if you can celebrate your child’s humor, passion and, especially, creativity.  There will be plenty of times when his solution to a problem wouldn’t be one that you would choose but if it works for him, praise him and let him try.

Negotiation

This is particularly important with teenagers.  In order for your child to see the beauty and joy of negotiation, parents must model that for their child.  This goes for all parents but most particularly for parents of Aspberger’s Syndrome children.

When your child displays negative behavior, it’s usually because your kid feels like the world is spinning out of control.  Learning how to negotiate a truce will go a long way.

Forgiveness

The effects of Asperger’s is not something your child signed up for.  Forgive her every day and forgive yourself while you’re at it.

Try to defuse and cut off any fights that may begin.  Conversations with your child can only happen when the tantrums have stopped.

Rewarding Good Behavior

This idea is very similar to one used in dog training.  Now, we’re not suggesting for a minute that your child should be compared to a dog.  What we are suggesting is that you give praise and reward the behavior you want your child to exhibit.  Make sure that this reward is immediate and consistent.

Planning

One of the things that trips up an Asperger’s child the fastest is change.  Make sure that you give plenty of notice before something in the house changes especially with routine.  Have a chat with your kid about what’s going to happen and what you expect of her as a result of those changes.

For Asperger’s children there is no past or future, only now.  There will be plenty of issues as you go down the road and the way to prepare your child for a successful and fruitful adulthood, is to set good behavior patterns early and often.

Asperger’s Syndrome is challenging at best and heartbreaking at worst.  But with some pre-planning and thought, you can help your child grow from adolescence to adulthood and live with Asperger’s successfully.

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