Autism: What to Look For, Resources to Help

Most moms worry about giving birth to a healthy baby while pregnant. Not me, I went through those nine months without a care in the world but earned my worry stripes at delivery. Thankfully my son did well enough to go home with me after a short stint in the neonatal intensive care unit.

I remember watching him as he grew and worried constantly if he might be autistic. No there was no real reason for the worry other than the New Mom Neurosis.

Autism is a Hodge-podge diagnosis for brain development abnormalities. The disease spectrum ranges from seemingly well adjusted kids to profoundly impaired kids requiring a lot of specialized care. Cause is unknown but thought to have both genetic and environmental causes.

The common denominator in autism is poor social development. Here are a few things to look out for in a child as young as one year old. Your child will not look you in the eye.

1. Eye contact or rather the avoidance of eye contact is the one the spot way to quickly tell if autism could be underlying.

2. Your child seems to enjoy solitary and repetitive play for hours on end.

3. Your child reacts strangely to sounds or loud noise.

4. Speech delay

5. Queer mannerisms

6. Your child resists being held close or being hugged or kissed

7. Your child will not point to objects or people

None of the symptoms by themselves mean much but if you are noticing two or more behaviors in your child, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or family doctor. Seek a second opinion if reassurances from your medical provider do not placate your fears. A mom’s intuition is often right. ¬†Early diagnosis goes a long way with minimizing disability from autism.

If your child has officially been diagnosed with autism, its okay to cry and I hope you get a supportive shoulder to cry on. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself. It’s nothing you did wrong. Scientific evidence has debunked the “Childhood Immunization leading to autism talk”.

What that movement brought on was outbreaks of measles and whooping cough.

What do you do you ask?

1. Connect with advocacy organization like Autism Speaks.

2. Autism support groups online. You can do a Google search

3. State Regional Centers. The name might be different in your state. They are state agencies specifically for special needs children. You will find highly skilled professional and therapist, many with passion for their work and can help your child tremendously. Signing Families, a company founded by a school psychologist can teach sign language to both parent and child to facilitate communication for the non-verbal child.

4. Your local school district. You can actually see your tax dollars at work. Very few private schools can match the depth of special education program of the public school system.

5. Social Security Administration Depending on the level of your child’s disability, he or she might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Author: Health Care on April 15, 2011
Category: Autism

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