Below is a short list of questions you could ask yourself if you are considering an autism evaluation for your child. This list is called the “Early Intervention Procedures” and was outlined and published by Autism Speaks.
Does your toddler show any of the following signs?
*No babbling by 12 months
*No back and forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
*No response to name by 12 months
*No words by 24 months
*Any lost off speech, babbling or social skills at any age
*Preoccupation with parts of objects or toys
*Repeats unusual movements or actions
I have seen lists with more questions, but I believe what Autism Speaks provides is a responsible way to begin your thought process.
If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, then what should you do?
Again, from Autism Speaks…
1. Don’t wait. Talk to a healthcare professional
2. Fill out an autism screener (find one online)
3. Start the evaluation and intervention process right away
4. Reach out for help
Did we ask those questions?
In 2004, we found a similar list online. We read the list and it scared us. We didn’t know what any of it meant. The worst thing we read was something that said, “Your child will never be able to hug you.” What?
Did we wait?
We did not wait. We had a friend that pestered us to seek help from a regional center and another friend that called us and explained some things to us (like the hugging thing that may or MAY NOT happen). What those friends did for us, we will never be able to pay back.
Did we fill out an autism screener?
They did not have autism screeners back in 2004. Or, if they did, we were unaware of them.
Did we start the evaluation and/or intervention process right away?
It took about three weeks for us to call the regional center. We got in for an evaluation about a month later. My son got a “provisional“ diagnosis after that evaluation. He began services during the next month.
Did we reach out for help?
We did from the regional center. However, we did not seek out support groups of any kind at that time. We focused on our child and learning about autism on our own.
I did not attend a walk until I was a volunteer. By that time, my son was four years old and I was fairly schooled in autism.
I regret not reaching out for support earlier. I have learned since that time that the autism community is a very giving community. I suggest you reach out to Autism Speaks, a regional center, or another autism-related group. We are all connected via autism. We all want what’s best for a child, any child.
To Find Kimberly Kaplan:
To Purchase “Two Years of Autism Blogs Featured on ModernMom.com” or “A Parents’ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon or Smashwords (print or digital)
LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan
Weekly Autism Blog: On ModernMom.com