Diagnosis: Autism

I guess what I'm saying is, there isn't really a best way to approach telling your child he has or had symptoms of autism. The fact that we don't really know what autism is makes it even more difficult. Telling someone that he has "something," but no one knows exactly what that means, may be more difficult than simply talking to him about his strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, some children may feel a sense of relief to know what exactly is going on, that there are interventions, and that there are a whole lot of other people who have the same challenges. So there are still questions as to how best to address this issue. As more children receive improved interventions so that they can reach a level where they can discuss their past symptoms, more research should help us determine the best ways to discuss the disability with children. Again, try to remember that each child has strengths, too. All of us have strengths and weaknesses, and it can often be a waste of time to dwell on weaknesses.

Good Treatments Are Available. Use Them.
With the right intervention, almost all children diagnosed with autism improve. There has been and continues to be much progress in the treatment of autism. Researchers around the country are making new findings daily. This book will help you start down the path of appropriate and worthwhile interventions and allow you to see how steady and knowledgeable efforts really can turn things around.

Similarly, remember that without treatment, your child will very likely get worse. Your child will not simply "outgrow" the symptoms of autism. Few children even outgrow language delays without intervention. You need to get a treatment plan of specialized interventions started as soon as possible.

Even if your child is very young and has mild symptoms, and you're not sure if she has autism, you still need to deal with those mild symptoms she's displaying – remember, labels don't matter, but symptoms do, and symptoms can and must be dealt with. You don't need a diagnosis to develop an intervention plan – helping your child with each and every symptom is what's important.

I can't stress strongly enough the importance of diving into action immediately. Every expert in the field agrees that early intervention is essential and critical. The "wait and see" approach is detrimental to your child. Children with autism tend to avoid things that are difficult, and communication is difficult for them, so they avoid situations where they might be expected to communicate. As a result, they become more isolated and withdrawn. So it's critical that you get a program started right away.

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From Overcoming Autism by Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D. and Claire LaZebnik. Copyright © 2004. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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