Autism and Early Symptoms
When Caleb was young, we were sure there was something not quite right. We couldn't pin-point it until he got closer to 12 months old, and he had missed some milestones, but there was more than that.
Some of the early warning signs of Caleb's autism were that he didn't look/respond when his name was called. He didn't point, or wave hello or goodbye, and couldn't follow a gesture when we would point to something. Caleb didn't make noise to get our attention, and didn't "ask" for help or make any basic requests. He wasn't really babbling, or imitating sounds at all. He would say "bah" in a very particular, rhythmic way. He didn't refuse cuddling, but he never initiated it by reaching out to be picked up. Caleb also never seemed interested in having anyone near by to play with. You could be playing with him or not, and it didn't matter to him. He spent a lot of his time opening and shutting our cupboards.
Caleb started in therapy because of a survey I filled out at an Ontario Early Years playgroup where a paediatric nurse was a special speaker/visitor. She gave all the parents a survey to fill in about their child (ages and stages survey), and I remember thinking, "Well, I might as well be honest!"
The N.P. was reading the survey results off to the side of them room, and she came up to me and asked if we could talk privately. She was very kind, and I could tell she didn't want to alarm me, but she very gently asked if she could refer Caleb to a speech therapist, as well as an occupational therapist. I agreed, and within 3 months Caleb was going to both therapies.
Being honest about what your child can and cannot do is important. You don't want to worry about every little thing, but you need to be aware of milestones that are being missed. A child who talks late doesn't necessarily mean they have Autism, you need to look at the whole picture of your child and where there are.
The most important thing about Autism is getting help as soon as possible. Book an appointment with your family doctor, or paediatrician, and let them know your concerns, and that you would like to schedule and Autism Screening (a simple test of questions, and getting your feedback as a parent about your child). Even though diagnosing a child may take a while, you can still take advantage of the treatment options available to a child with developmental delays.
Lastly, it's not your fault! Autism is not caused by forgetting to eat mass quantities of broccoli while pregnant, or forgetting to take your folic acid. It's not because you got pregnant without planning to, and felt some dread, it isn't because your child is being raised in the city and not the country, or whatever thing it is that makes you think , "If only I...."
Autism is not the end of the world, it's just a different view of the world! Your child needs love, and warmth, and laughter, and crying, and all the things everyone needs-just be prepared to dish it out differently! It's easier for me to say now that my Caleb is 9 years old, but if I could talk to myself as a Mom when Caleb was 1, 2, 3, etc.....I would tell myself all of the above! Stop wondering, "if only" while looking back, and start looking forward, and have plans and hope for what might come for the beautiful child you've been given.
11/28/2013 11:45:23 pm
You know Amy-Lyn, the one thing i realize after reading your posts is that autism has so many "colours". Each child varies in so many ways in regards to symptoms and issues. My son now has been confirmed with ASD (aspergers). He talked extremely early but never played with toys, he couldnt figure out what to do with them. I always knew what he liked and didnt like because his emotions were never hidden. I always thought of him as just a serious uncontent baby. As he grew, there were things about his behaviour that were just off, nothing i could always specifically say but as you said as a whole, were just not quite right. I am blessed with never having to guess how he feels but that also means i can hear about it for hours, the same thing over and over and over again. Strengths and weaknesses i remind myself, big deep breathe. I am learning that stress level is the most important issue to watch, even when i dont see it as stress. Little things may be HUGE in his eyes and something that is very significant may seem unsubstantial to him. I like your forward thinking... helping to shape the future is more important that trying to come up with what ifs from the past.
11/29/2013 12:33:13 am
Sue, you are so right about Autism and it's complexities-but especially among those who have it! Talking early, talking late. Playing obsessively with toys, not playing with them at all. The different signs and symptoms among people with Autism is amazing. A big thing for me as a Mom of a child with Autism is trying to help people understand that my sons' Autism will not be the same as anyone else's Autism. You made me laugh with your deep breath, strengths and weaknesses comment too. Gotta love these kids! :)
12/12/2013 02:21:48 am
Love reading your blog Amy-Lyn! Especially the bits about Autism and Caleb.
12/12/2013 08:32:54 pm
Caleb does love you guys! And he does love playing you for treats! Haha :)
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Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
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