Understanding Autism Part Two
Dear Readers: Please see the reader’s question presented last week. There is so much information that we can put it into two weeks. The original question is:
Dear Dr. Beal: My son was just diagnosed with Autism? What does that mean? Did I do something wrong? My husband is blaming me because he feels I waited too long to go to the doctor. I was almost five months pregnant before I was seen by an Obstetrics and gynecology doctor. I really didn’t know I was pregnant.
Let’s start off looking at Autism from the very beginning. So your child has been diagnosed with Autism or you suspect that your child may fit the category. Lets talk about how the diagnosis is or was determined.
Developmental Screenings are used to make an early diagnosis.
It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that all children undergo screening for ASD at the ages of 18 and 24 months. Ask your pediatrician to screen your child.
- The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a common tool used. It is a 23-question survey filled out by parents.
- DNA testing for genetic disease
- Behavioral evaluation
- Visual and audio test to rule out any issues with vison and hearing that aren’t related to autism
- Occupational therapy screening
- Developmental questionnaires, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
When a diagnosis is determined there is usually more than one person making the diagnosis.
What About Treatment?
There are several treatment approaches to help your child that work collectively or individually based on the child’s needs.
Play Therapy – A form of counseling or psychotherapy in which play is used as a means of helping children express or communicate their feelings
Behavioral Therapy – A form of psychotherapy whose focal point is modifying disagreeable behavior in patient
Occupational Therapy – A form of therapy for those recuperating from physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life
Speech Therapy – Training to help people with speech and language problems to speak clearly
A change in diet may also help, like fresh fruits, and vegetables, lean poultry, fish, unsaturated fats, and lots of water. Some autism advocates endorse a gluten-free diet.
Education is the key to understanding any mental health condition. Write down your questions before you go to your doctor for a consult. Although there is not a cure, symptoms can be managed. Having a child with a “disability” can be turned into an “ability.” All children are special, and you will find that your child has a special talent, you just have to unlock their possibility.
A black support group for parents with children of autism in Houston is:
Parents can email them and they will supply information.
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“Good Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth”