What is Autism?
Autism is a disability that causes developmental delays in areas such as talk, play, and being socially active. The severity of the symptoms may vary from person to person. Symptoms of Autism may appear any time between infancy to early childhood. According to the article “Autism Symptoms and Early Signs” published on HelpGuide.org, the true causes of Autism are not yet known, but health professionals agree that the disability originates from environmental factors or genetics. It is very normal to want to know why your child is Autistic, but it is much more important to focus on the treatment rather than the cause.
Know the Signs of Autism
The first step to helping your child cope with autism is to learn as much as you can about the disability and its early signs. As a parent, educate yourself about your child’s developmental milestones and know what to expect with each age. If you feel that your baby is off when it comes to a developmental milestone, then seek treatment right away. Your child is more likely to respond better to the treatment earlier than later.
Diagnosis for Autism
A diagnosis for Autism is based on behavioral and developmental observations. From birth up to at least 36 months, your child should get a developmental milestone screening test during his or her regular routine checkups. If your child’s pediatrician raises any concerns, he or she will refer your child to a specialist for early intervention and evaluation.
Because there are different types of Autism, there are different types of treatments. Treatments for Autism center mostly on therapies that attempt to revert behavior. Your doctor will recommend the treatment that best suits your child. Some treatments may include:
• Behavior and Communication Therapy. Within this therapy, there are different types of programs, depending on your child’s symptoms; some programs will focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills, hence yielding to self-help. Other programs will focus on teaching children how to communicate with others and how to act in social situations (Treatments and Drugs. n.d.).
• Occupational and Physical Therapy. This type of therapy can help your child develop stronger coordination and motor skills. This therapy may also help your child learn to process sensory information such as sight, touch, hearing, sound, and smell (Autism-Treatment Overview, 2008).
• Medications. Autism does not have specific medications that can cure the disability; rather there are medications for symptoms that are associated with Autism such as antidepressants, psychoactive medications to reduce hyperactivity and withdrawal, and anti-anxiety drugs to reduce panic disorders (Autism Overview: What are the treatments for Autism? 2007).
Toys for Children with Autism
As mentioned above, autism affects language, therefore help your child develop or improve his or her skills through fun games that will get through to them. Check out Children Succeed for a list of games that focus on language development, emotional development, developing eye contact and facial expressions, and much more. Remember to learn about your child first by finding out what areas your child needs strengthening in and what type of learner your child is.
Research has also proved that Lego helps autistic children become more creative. Since autistic children have a hard time adjusting to new experiences, Lego helps autistic children get out of their comfort zone and become more comfortable with trying new things.
If you have a child who suffers from autism, know that you are not alone and reach out for support. There are many online support groups that you can sign up for free. Autism Support Network offers information about autism along with support. Autism Speaks also allows you to join support groups by connecting to others in your state. This site also offers services such as early intervention, financial and legal resources, health services, and much more.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you and your child may be eligible for free services such as psychological services, speech therapy, physical therapy, parent counseling, and much more (Helping Children with Autism, n.d.). Visit IDEA for more information.
• Autism Overview: What are the treatments for Autism? (2007). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.
• Autism-Treatment Overview. (2008). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.
• Helping Children with Autism: Autism treatment strategies and parenting tips. (n.d.). Retrieved on May 12, 2013.
• Treatments and Drugs. (n.d.). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.