Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Early Intervention Makes a Huge Difference for Autistic Children

Autism is much more common in today's society than parents might think. With the numbers increasing annually, the Centers for Disease Control has stated that one out of every 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Times Have Changed 
Back in the day, if a child was diagnosed with autism there was little to no help available. Children were left to work independently and parents were left to pay extensively for private tutoring and assistance-often without results. Autism organizations were not around to provide assistance for autistic children so that they could find a way to live somewhat normal lives. In fact, just over a decade ago, autism was considered a learning disability and often children were poorly diagnosed.

Today, autism is a growing concern and is also becoming more popular in research. More parents are aware of what autism is, and there are organizations to help educate and provide financial assistance to parents of autistic children.

Diagnosing Autism 
Early detection is key in helping a child with autism live a more normal life in society. Since autism can be seen as early as eighteen months of age, children should be watched throughout their development for any warning signs of autism. High-risk groups, such as children with siblings diagnosed with autism, should be watched even more closely by physicians and parents alike.

Warning signs of autism include: 
• Not engaging in pretend play, not making eye contact, not liking to be held or cuddled, not understanding typical emotions or relating to their own feelings, not handling change well, and not relating to others 
• Repeating actions over and over, and repeating words that are said to them 
• Having unusual reactions to everyday things 
• Rarely responding to their own name

Why Early Intervention Is Imperative 
Research has shown that early intervention can improve a child's overall development. Children who receive autism-appropriate education and support at key developmental stages are more likely to gain essential social skills and react better in society. Essentially, early detection can provide an autistic child with the potential for a better life. Parents of autistic children can learn early on how to help their child improve mentally, emotionally, and physically throughout the developmental stages with assistance from specialists and organizations.

Lastly, catching autism and working through it early also benefits parental relationships. The strain of caring for an autistic child can be an everyday challenge, but with early preparation and intervention, parents can prepare themselves for the road ahead emotionally and mentally.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Help For Today's Autistic Child

When my daughter was very young, I knew something was wrong.

She cried a lot, had trouble swallowing, and her motor skills were very slow.

Sitting up, crawling, and walking were far below the norm.

Everyone told me not to worry, that she was just being catered to and did not need to do things on her own.

Don't believe that.

You know your child better than anyone else.

My parents would say "She'll be fine".

I honestly believe they felt that way because that's what they hoped for.

If you think your child is developing slowly, or has unusual behavior, like rocking, flapping their arms, or not trying to develop, there may be a problem.

The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will see improvement.

I only wish the internet, with so much information, was available when my daughter was young.

Today there are 116 million sites regarding autism.

Granted not all of them will be helpful, or pertain to your situation, but you have so much at your fingertips.

After my daughter graduated from high school, there wasn't much for her to do.

I thought about having her work for Goodwill or a similar organization.

But she ended up working in my hair salon and spa.

She would sweep up hair and help with laundry.

She liked to intermingle with the employees and clients, even though her speech was very difficult to understand.

At that time my oldest son's came home to live, after losing a job.

When he would go on job interviews, he would take his sister with him and give her driving lessons.

After she got her license it opened up a new world for her.

It helped her to become more independent.

Around the same time, my brother heard about a restaurant that was hiring challenged individuals.

She went for an interview and was hired as a dishwasher. She eventually learned to work the fountain, making sundaes and different desserts. She worked for that company for 23 years, until the company closed her store down.

During that time she was also hired by a local grocery store.

She still works at the grocery store and has been there 22 years. She also receives vacation pay and health insurance.

She has her own car, that she paid for herself.

When my husband and I sold our house and planned to retired to Florida,we helped my daughter get an apartment and she is now quite self-sufficient.

I still oversee her finances and check on her quite frequently, as do her two brothers.

We help her a little with finances but she is paying for almost everything else without any government assistance, like SSI.

We're very proud of her and her determination to be self-sufficient.

So the moral is there is help, but you have to keep looking for the right help and keep working with and for your child.

I just want to give you hope.

The road isn't easy but it can be accomplished.