You Are Here for a Reason.
If you’re here, you’re probably already suspicious. That’s enough to go ahead and have your child tested. This is really important and needs to be done as soon as possible.
Maybe someone else pointed concerns out: a friend, a relative, a teacher, a therapist, a doctor. This can feel hurtful, but they likely have you and your child’s best interest in mind. If you’re here, you may be a concerned parent trying to determine if your child is autistic.
No matter what, this is still your child. He’s as wonderful and amazing as he’s always been, regardless of whether or not he is autistic.
It’s going to be okay.
Reasons you can trust me as a source of information:
1) I’ve been a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 2005. I have 100s of hours of additional training in Autism, Neurodiversity, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other related topics (as a parent and as an SLP).
2) I’m a Mama to an Autistic child. (he is fantastic!!!)
3) I’m a safe space for questions!
Is your child autistic?
If you are wondering this, have him evaluated right away.
Early Intervention leads to better outcomes!
Autism is first, and foremost a learning style.
Finding the right teachers, therapists, and helpers leads to your child meeting his potential.
What are the *characteristics of Autism?
Autistic adults prefer that we use the term “characteristics” instead of “symptoms” because the latter points to a disease or condition with a cure.
*Your child could have any, all, or none of these characteristics….and still be autistic:
- Delayed Speech Development
- Sensory Differences (seeking, avoiding, or both): spinning things, hyperactivity, flapping hands, toe walking, crashing into things, lining up things, looking at things from unusual angles, etc
- Social Differences: preferring to play alone, interacting with older kids and adults (but not kids his age), seeming lost, seeming in his own world
- Loss of skills or Development Stopping
- Not Responding: to name, safety cues
- Not pointing
This video has footage of a child with a more obvious or “classic” presentation:
“He doesn’t look autistic.” He is. There isn’t a look.
Sometimes kids make great eye contact, play peekaboo, and seem social….while also being autistic.
I used to question my gut instincts….and others did too.
“But he’s so social….” (with adults and older kids)
“But he plays peekaboo” (he does)
“But he’s so charming!” (he is SO charming)
“But he makes eye contact.” (he does make eye contact…very well)
My son is still autistic. This is okay! If you handed me a cure, I wouldn’t give it to him.
I started wondering if my child was autistic when he was a baby. It took me four years to get help and I was actively searching for help the entire time. Don’t wait…evaluate!
Having your child tested will not hurt him. You can have the information and then determine your next steps.
Your Child Needs You
Change your mindset. You can do this. You are not alone. It’s going to be ok!
Mourning -> Accepting
Denying -> Advocating
Waiting -> Early Intervention
Early Intervention leads to better outcomes! We have a lot of data and scholarly information to prove this. Waiting will not help your child. Don’t Wait…Evaluate!
You are your child’s most important advocate!
My child might grow out of this.
The diagnosis might be wrong if it’s made too early.
The treatment will be the same either way.
Speech therapy is for kids who can talk.
Where Should I Take my Child for Testing?
Duke Autism Program
Local Education Agency (School System)
Ask yourself this, honestly: If it isn’t autism…what is it?
Why do I need a diagnosis?
Early Intervention Leads to better outcomes.
You may gain access to special programs, therapy, and funding.
Some waitlists are very, very long.
You need the right childcare, support system (therapists, doctors, etc), and teachers.