For children with autism and related disorders, receiving an official diagnosis plays a key role in their development moving forward. After all, this means that they can access additional support services, put accommodations in place to support them moving forward, and begin to explore different therapeutic interventions.

This is particularly important when you understand that early intervention has many benefits, as it means that your child is developing a range of skills and coping mechanisms that will set them up for life.

With that in mind, here are some steps that you can follow to ensure your child receives an autism diagnosis as soon as possible.

Understand the early signs.

Right now, the average age for an autism diagnosis is three years old for boys and four for girls. However, studies have found that “many children show symptoms of autism by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier.” Being able to pick up on the early signs, alongside some of the lesser-known symptoms of autism, means that you can pursue the next step as quickly as possible.

The earliest indicators of autism are:

● Difficulty maintaining/avoiding eye contact
● Lack of response to their names
● Delayed speech/communication development

Keeping note of the different signs and symptoms you pick up on as a parent can prove useful when meeting with a paediatrician for the first time, as you can better advocate for your child.

Reach out to a specialist.

If you believe that your child may have autism or a related condition, then the sooner you reach out to their paediatrician, the better. While paediatricians are qualified to diagnose autism, they will likely signpost you to a trusted colleague, such as a child psychologist, who will carry out a series of tests to determine whether or not your child has autism.

The reason why you should reach out as quickly as possible is that there is often a long waiting time for autism evaluations, which can be incredibly frustrating. For example, a recent study found that over 60% of children experienced wait times longer than four months, and 15% waited over a year.

During an evaluation, the clinician will ask for information about your child’s developmental history, including any milestones they have reached (or missed). They will also interact with your child directly and observe them while playing or interacting with others. Following this, they will then carry out a range of standard assessments designed to identify the key signs and signifers of autism.

Following this, they can provide your child with a diagnosis.

After receiving a diagnosis.

When your child receives your autism diagnosis, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed, especially when you’re thinking about what this could mean for your child moving forward. However, there are plenty of steps that you can take to put your mind at ease.

For example, you should start by learning more about autism. This will help you challenge any preconceived notions you may have developed about ASD and ensure that your knowledge is as broad as possible. However, you should be sure to seek out information from trusted, reputable sources.

Following this, you can look into the different therapeutic services available to you, from speech therapy to ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). If you’d like to learn more about the services offered at our facility (or online), please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

According to a recent report from the CDC, “1 in 36 children in the U.S. have autism, up from the previous rate of 1 in 44.” This increase in diagnoses can likely be attributed to an increased awareness of the condition, alongside growing funding for ASL and other related disorders.

Fortunately, this also means that there’s more support available than ever before to children with autism and their families. This includes a wide range of interventive therapies. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which therapy is right for your child, which is where this guide comes in!

What are the different kinds of Autism Therapy?

Applied Behavioral Analysis.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is one of the most popular forms of autism therapy. This is built upon the ideology of reducing challenging behaviors in individuals with autism while also helping participants to develop useful life skills. For example, it can help children to better understand how they should act in a specific situation.

All children with autism could benefit from this interventive approach. This is because this form of therapy can be highly individualized to ensure that each child’s specific needs or struggles are met and addressed, allowing them to succeed in any of the future ventures. A recent study found that “autistic children receiving the ABA intervention demonstrated statistically significant improvement in target behaviours over the one-month snapshot period.”

Speech Therapy.

Around 42% of those diagnosed with ASD are non-verbal or minimally verbal. However, while this is something that many individuals with ASD deal with in their youth, speech therapies can help them find their voice.  For example, a recent study found that “70% of preschool kids with language issues who went through speech therapy showed improvement in language skills” when completing their program.

Speech Therapy, as the name suggests, is built around the idea of helping children with autism and related disorders build upon their communication skills. These sessions cover a range of topics. For example, participants will learn how to:

  • Express their emotions through language
  • Modulate their tone of voice
  • Develop their understanding of non-verbal cues and signals
  • Improving pronunciation

Children who are non or minimally verbal will obtain the most benefit from this kind of therapy, especially as our ability to communicate faces so many different aspects of our lives.

Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Therapy is designed to help children with autism and related disorders develop a range of coping mechanisms and daily life skills that allow them to thrive in a wide range of situations. For example, some elements of Occupational Therapy touch upon the development and refinement of fine motor skills, which can help children improve their balance and posture and even impact their academic performance by helping with writing and other similar tasks.

Many occupational therapists will also work closely with participants to help them develop general life skills, such as basic grooming and personal hygiene. This can help children with ASD and related conditions to become more independent in the long-term.

As occupational therapy covers so many bases, it is beneficial to any children with ASD.

Final Thoughts.

While the above list is by no means comprehensive, the three therapies listed above are some of the most beneficial in helping children with autism develop the skills they need to thrive, whether this be in their personal lives or at school.

At Alee Behavioral, we have years of experience in supporting children with autism and related disorders and also offer group therapy sessions and parent/caregiver training. If you’d like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Our ability to communicate with others, be it our family or peers, shapes our day-to-day lives. After all, it helps us form strong relationships, advocate for ourselves, and get to where we need to be (both professionally and personally).

However, children with autism and related disorders may find it harder than most to communicate with others. There are many reasons for this, but it’s primarily due to the fact that the way in which we communicate in our daily lives caters to neurotypical people over neurodiverse.

Not only does it require a certain level of language processing skills, but it often requires speakers to pick up on nonverbal cues, such as body language, too—something that many people with autism find hard to read. Beyond this, a significant number of children with autism are non-verbal or “have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences.”

As such, parents must work proactively with their children to help them develop the communication skills they need to thrive!

How To Help Your Child with Autism Communicate

Enroll them in Speech Therapy. Working with a speech-language pathologist is one of the most effective methodologies when it comes to helping individuals with ASD find their voice and improve their communication skills. During any given session, they will work closely with your child to help them develop a range of communication-based skills. For example, they may work on:

Child with Autism Communicate

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Work to understand their unique communication style.

Parents tend to know their children better than anybody else in the world. Working to better understand their unique communication style means they can express their needs more clearly, making their day-to-day life a little easier. For example, stimming could sometimes indicate frustration or feeling tired and overwhelmed.

State how you are feeling, as opposed to “showing it.”

While helping your child recognize the difference between certain facial expressions can help them to better understand emotional self-expression, you can make this process a lot easier for them by stating how you are feeling instead of merely showing it. For example, you could say:

“I am happy because….”
“I am sad because…”

The more you get into the practice of doing this, the easier your child will find it to understand emotions or how they manifest for others. It could also encourage them to open up about how they may be feeling.

Look into Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices.

For nonverbal children, AAC devices can prove to be instrumental in changing the way they communicate for the better. These tools can help them to participate more actively in conversations, express themselves creatively, and gain more independence in daily life. Speak to your child’s speech therapist beforehand to see which device is best for your child or to learn more about how you can integrate this into their daily routine.

In short, there are many different ways in which you can help your child with autism communicate!

A parent will always be their child’s biggest advocate. However, when your child is diagnosed with autism or a related disorder, your advocacy becomes all the more important.

Why is Autism Advocacy Important?

There are many reasons why autism advocacy is important. It can help to break down harmful stereotypes, challenge misinformation, and perhaps most crucially, build a more welcoming and inclusive world for neurodiverse individuals.

Furthermore, it can also help to raise awareness about autism and related disorders, which can increase acceptance and increase the amount of funding autism charities and research receive.

How To Advocate For Your Child With Autism

Start at home.

Advocating for your child often begins at home. Start by doing your research into autism, ensuring that all information is gathered from reputable sources. The more you understand the condition, the easier it will be to support your child throughout every stage of their life.

If you have neurotypical children at home, take the time to explain autism to them, too. They may have already noticed that their sibling acts slightly differently to them, but without having a concrete reason why, they may not know how to respond.

Speak to their teacher.

According to a recent study, few children have received an autism diagnosis before starting school. In fact,28% of students do not receive a formal autism diagnosis until they are teenagers.

As a result, you must keep your child’s teacher up to date, whether you’re considering looking into autism testing or have received a formal diagnosis. This can ensure that they put the proper provisions in place to support your child in the classroom, whether this means designing a sensory-friendly classroom or sticking to a clear routine each day.

Challenge negative assumptions.

Many people view an autism diagnosis as something inherently negative when it just means that your child sees the world in a slightly different way. As such, you should work to encounter this negative whenever you come across it. While speaking out can be hard, it shows your child that they should be proud of who they are and helps to break down some of the more persistent stereotypes relating to ASD.

You should also encourage your child to find their voice and speak up for themselves.

Remain involved in their therapy.

Therapy can play a key role in the life of a child with autism or a related disorder, helping them to develop the skills they need to thrive in any environment. Remaining actively engaged in their therapy, such as by attending sessions together or going over what they’ve learned each week, is another great way to support and advocate for your child. After all, it means that you are taking active strides toward making their day-to-day life a little easier.

If you’d like to find out more about autism therapies, including speech therapy and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Any questions? Give us a call!


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