No parent wants to ever utter the question, “Is my child autistic?” However, when certain signs or symptoms appear, the possibility needs to be considered.
If you are worried that your child may have autism, we want to remind you that even if an autism diagnosis occurs, there is still hope for you and your child to have a loving, communicative, and fabulous relationship. That said, it is also important to know as early as possible if your child lands on the autism spectrum so you can begin to meet your child where he or she is at – with love and understanding.
So please consider the information below to determine whether it is time to make an appointment with your pediatrician. Also know that we here at Autism Treatment Center of America® are here for you and your child. You can learn more about our proven Son-Rise Program® here.
What is Autism?
We believe that autism is a social relational disorder that affects many aspects of a child’s life, including his or her ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism can vary in severity, ranging from mild social deficits to total disability. The condition typically appears in the first three years of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism currently affects approximately 1 in 68 children in the United States. The condition is more common in male children, who are affected 4.5 times as often as female children.
Scientists have not yet determined the exact cause of autism. However, research has identified several factors that may contribute to the development of this condition. Some of these potential contributing factors include environmental exposures, such as viruses and toxins, as well as various genetic problems.
Is My Child Autistic?
The best way to determine whether you should consult a doctor on behalf of your child is to ask yourself whether he or she has any of the symptoms typically associated with autism.
And while autism varies immensely from child to child, here are several signs you can look for:
- Failing to make eye contact with parents, family, or other caregivers, especially during meals.
- Failing to respond to his or her own name.
- Inappropriate reactions in social situations.
- No desire to share objects or interests with others.
- Inability to understand and follow simple instructions.
- Inability to hold a normal conversation.
- Abnormal speech patterns.
- No desire to play with others.
- Delayed speech.
- No desire to cuddle or be held.
- Development of repetitive behaviors, such as hand-wringing.
Some children with autism may develop normally in the earlier years of their life and then show signs of regression, while others may exhibit the symptoms of autism from a very early age. If you have noticed any of the symptoms above and you feel concerned, mention these worries to your pediatrician. He or she will be able to evaluate your child and determine whether any symptoms may be related to autism.
Hope is Not Lost
For many parents, worries of autism are unwarranted. They take their children to the doctor only to find out that the child is developing normally. However, for some parents, that fateful question, “Is my child autistic?” can mark the beginning of a lifelong journey.
Even if your child is diagnosed with autism, there is no need to give up hope that you and your lovely child can have the relationship you desire. We have seen children dramatically improve over time with the proper interactions and loving care from their parents. In some cases we have even seen full recovery!
Although some professionals may tell you that your options are limited, in our experience they are not always correct. And your child needs YOU to be his or her greatest advocate and champion.
Know that your child is special just the way he or she is. Resist the urge to compare your child to others and instead, celebrate your child’s uniqueness. If autism becomes a part of your child’s journey, we encourage you to explore the ways other parents before you have successfully walked that journey with their own children, and achieved amazing results by simply learning how to be with their children, in their own world, and to lovingly bridge them back to the world as we know it.
Here are some inspiring stories from parents who have watched their children transform, even after an autism diagnosis.