But one morning it just hits you, your child is turning 3 years old next month but still remains unresponsive to you. Your child is not as interactive as other kids would usually be. ‘Could my child be autistic?’
Any parent would be alarmed. I know I was. It absolutely rocks the foundations of your world, and you almost cannot bring yourself to admit that it might be possible.
Autism may sound familiar to you. It is however important to first establish that this is not an infection or a contagious disease. This is actually a condition where the brain of the child has developed differently, resulting in certain ramifications that affect the system of the child and manifests itself predominantly in the lack of interpersonal skills of the child – inhibited communication, lack of social interaction and a lack of flexibility in their thought processes.
This condition occurs to 1 child in every 700 in the population. I know, unbelievable isn’t it? It was found also that this is more prevalent among boys. The signs manifest at an early stage in a child’s life. It is useful that you keep a close eye on your child’s behavior and responses – especially to others.
So, How do you detect autism?
The signs of autism can often be observed as early as 18 months up to 3 years old.
If your child is experiencing difficulty in the following aspects, it would be advisable to consult a doctor or an expert in the autism spectrum:
* Looking at others – Can he or she not look at you straight in the eye when you try to communicate?
* Playing with other children – Does he or she avoid other children or automatically shies away?
* Imagining – Can he or she not handle make-believe games? From experience, my son is VERY literal. Whats black is black and what is white is white!
* Communicating – Are there words that he or she cannot say or will have to be said over and over before he or she can grasp them?
* Repetition – Are there mannerisms or motor movements that they keep repeating for no apparent reason or purpose? My son used to rock backwards and forwards when sat on the floor.
* Changes – Is he or she inflexible to changes? Does he or she get alarmed when you change a certain routine, like waking up while it is still dark? This is a biggie even now (Charlie is 20!). Any change to routine has to be carefully done like a military operation almost!
Some babies can actually manifest signs of autism
* Babies that do not look in the eye can be displaying signs of autism, especially if they would rather stare at moving mechanical objects or parts of it.
* Too calm babies should also be observed. Are they able to lie for hours without crying?
* When babies do not play or do not interact with other babies.
How can I address the condition of autism or Aspergers syndrome which is also on the autistic spectrum?
The cause of autism is still unknown. That is why parents should not blame themselves if they feel that they had been negligent in taking care of their kids during infancy, or if a mother thinks she might not have properly taken care of herself during pregnancy. DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF!
Just as the definite cause is still unknown, there is also no definite treatment to cure a child of autism. It is a case of getting to know the condition, embracing it and working around things in life to enable both you and your child to have a close to normal life.
Even though you cannot free your child from this condition, the best option to you as parents of an autistic child is to address the problem. It is best to consult an expert on this field. The family may have to stick to a definite lifestyle to adjust to the needs of the child. This will require extra patience as well – gallons of it trust me! You will need to look into sending your child to a special education school when the time comes. If the autism of the child is relatively mild, be sure that you inform the teacher or the principal of the condition. You can also find out more at The Autism Directory.
You have a special child. He or she is special, because his or her abilities are different from the ordinary child of their age. Provide special treatment and care needed. Give them your attention. Stay by his or her side.
More than anything else; simply make the child feel your loving care.
Believe me, from 20 years of experience, you will get a lot of highs and some lows too. We say that “an autistic child is for life not just for Christmas!” Our Charlie is so incredibly empathetic to others needs and has an incredible knowledge of certain topics like soccer and flags of the world. Having him in our life has been very humbling.
Find out more about a Parents Guide to Make Autism Not Such a Challenge