As a parent, one of the hardest things to hear is that your amazing little child has a medical issue. Finding out that your baby boy or girl has autism can be devastating news, at first. However, if that news is coming when your child is very young, then measures can be taken that can make a massive difference. Ideally, you want to watch for signs of autism before 18 months of age but at any age, treatment can help to significantly reduce the negative behavior associated with autism. There are even autism schools that are dedicated to helping children with the disorder. If you child goes through an autism school’s special programs, you will likely see them progress and thrive like you never have before.
What to look for in babies and small children
- Does not make eye contact even when being fed.
- Does not smile, even when being smiled at.
- Does not react when hearing a familiar voice or respond to his or her name being called.
- Does not track objects with his or her eyes.
- Does not point, wave or communicate using gestures at all.
- Does not follow your finger when pointing at something.
- Does not attempt to get your attention by making noises.
- Does not show interest in physical affection like cuddling.
- Does not mimic facial expressions or movements of those around him or her.
- Does not show interest in being picked up; does not reach out.
- Does not want to play with other children.
- Does not show any notable emotion of happiness, joy or interest.
- Does not ask for help, food or other basic needs.
What to do if you suspect autism?
The most important thing that you can do as a parent is to monitor your child and see if they seem to be developing at a regular pace. Autistic children will develop much later than other children around them so keep an eye on all their milestones.
If you do see any of these symptoms in your baby or young child, try not to panic. It could be a coincidence or it could simply be that they are developer at a slower pace and there is nothing wrong at all. However, you should always check with your doctor and let them know if you are noticing any of the above symptoms. Several combined symptoms are more likely to be a strong warning sign rather than one or two similarities.
Never just sit back and wait to see if your child exhibits more symptoms or if the ones they have go away. Should your child turn out to be autistic, you will have lost valuable time. The truth is, whether your child has autism or not, if they are developmentally delayed, the problem isn’t likely to fix itself. Children don’t tend to grow out of things like that. They will probably need special help and therapy to catch up.
How to handle your child’s autism diagnosis
If your child is diagnosed with autism, it’s okay to take some time for yourself to process the news. You will surely have plenty of questions whizzing through your mind so after you have absorbed the news, start researching the condition and look for autism specialists or autism schools that could be a benefit to your child. As far as education goes, your child will not have a lot of rights that they didn’t have before. Familiarize yourself with these so that if you choose to mainstream your child instead of sending them to autism school, then you will know what to request.
Overall, it is not the end of the line for your child’s chances at a normal life. You are probably questioning this, as well as many other things. There are many people with autism that go on to have careers, happy lives and even marriages. Some less severe cases aren’t even diagnosed until they are adults and while it explains the difficulties that they’ve had, they have been awarded every chance and opportunity that everyone around them had. Just know this: there is hope. As long as your child can grow up in a loving and supportive environment that understands the condition and helps them to learn how to cope and how to progress, there is hope.