02 Aug

3 Ways a Diagnosis of “Autism” Can Help a Child

Here are 3 things that a proper diagnosis of Autism can provide:

1. CONTEXT
As human beings we seek to understand not only our own self, but also the world around us. A diagnosis provides context. For something as complex as a being human and a disorder as complex as Autism, people need to look through the proper lens to see the person and symptoms accurately. Sometimes they need to be handed the glasses. The world responds and has a better understanding of what is happening with a child when there is a name to put with it. Especially with children and adults on the Spectrum.

2. ACCESS TO SERVICES
A diagnosis like this also comes with an (often unspoken) possibility to receive services. For example, it could be qualifying the child to have an aide in a classroom or receive occupational therapy. There are a variety of resources and support systems a family can utilize to make life a little better, all the way into adulthood. I have found it varies from County to County, perhaps State to State. Some systems offer assistance with education, skill building, job training, cooperative housing and various types of therapy. These resources are critical for some on the spectrum just to be able to maintain day-to-day functioning.

3. RELIEF FROM CRITICISM
Simply put – a parent may respond differently towards a child when that child is Autistic. When people see a child act out, for example, and a parent respond and then the child not calm down (which can be common with children on the Spectrum) a frequent assumption is that the parent(s) are not parenting the child correctly. Often parents with children that aren’t on the spectrum have to wait it out in an uneventful manner. They get to practice patience. But sometimes with a child on the Spectrum, when the tantrum hits, not only is patience important, but also safety can become an immediate priority because sometimes the lack of emotional regulation also comes with out of control behavior. An intervention might be needed, and it may take a while for the event to pass. People frequently don’t understand the full context of the situation. I now explain to people that my son is on the Spectrum, and frequently there is an immediate response of compassion and support and a little more patience. I am grateful.

Parents and children deserve to be supported, loved and validated. This can be a difficult journey for many families.


References:

JAMA Psychiatry: Autism From 2 to 9 Years of Age (inaccuracy in diagnoses.)

Cambridge.org: The diagnosis of autism and Asperger syndrome: findings from a survey of 770 families

CDC.gov: Diagnosing Autism

Autsimspeaks.org: How does sensory processing affect communication in kids with autism?

SFgate.com: Beyond Rain Man: What one psychologist learned raising a son on the autism spectrum

TACANOW.org: Introduction to Autism

Books:
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, Random House Books

1001 Great ideas for teaching and raising children with Autism or Asperger’s, Ellen Notbohm & Veronica Zysk, Future Horizons

Videos:

Youtube.com video: Teachthroughlove.com – 5 things to never say to child with Asperger’s

Youtube.com video: “The Good side of Autism”

Youtube.com video: Wonkid family video

01 Aug

A Quote for August

“For most diagnoses all that is needed is an ounce of knowledge, an ounce of intelligence, and a pound of thoroughness.”

— Arabic Proverb

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