If you suspect your child might be autistic, the first step in obtaining treatment is getting him/her diagnosed. Some of the signs of Autism might include impaired social interaction, delays in both verbal and non-verbal communication, failure to respond to name when called, avoidance of eye contact with other people, repetitive movements such as rocking or twirling or self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. If you are unsure or have any doubts, speak to a professional such as your pediatrician or teacher, or call social services agencies in your area to speak with a counselor who can guide you through the process.
Sometimes a language delay is just that, so there is no need to panic. Trust your parental instincts and seek out help. As with any developmental delay, early intervention is crucial so it is better not to wait to see if your child grows out of it.
There are different levels of Autism and different methods for helping Autistic children. Financial help for Autism treatments is available. In California, health insurance companies are mandated to provide behavior intervention services proven effective for individuals with Autism and related disorders. Also, there is a system called the Regional Centers which provide funding for Autism treatments. After your child is officially diagnosed, you will be referred to various service providers that will get you on the path to helping your Autistic child.
As a parent, receiving the diagnosis that something is “wrong” with your child can be devastating, confusing and overwhelming. Often times, this lead to isolation and shame. However, rest assure that you are not alone. There is help out there, and there are people and organizations that devote energy and resources to assist you in finding solutions to the problem. Reach out with confidence.
As I wrote in a previous blog, even when you don’t see it, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Daniel Adatto, BCBA