When we talk about Autism, there are tons of questions. Is Autism really that bad? What are the symptoms? How are people diagnosed with Autism? Is Autism a life changing diagnosis? No matter what the question, there are some definite facts; almost 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism. Some cases of Autism are severe, whereas others are less severe.
There are some good qualities that autistic individuals have, they are many times very artistic and intelligent and many have a knack of mathematics. Being diagnosed with Autism for many parents may seem like a God send, it means that there is finally a name for what’s been going on with their child or children. I myself work with Autistic children on a daily basis in my office in New York City, and I know from experience that individuals with autism can be a tremendous people. Don’t get me wrong, autism can manifest itself in many ways, and although I have a fairly positive outlook not everyone feels the same way that I do. Ultimately, we should understand that autism can be treated, but not cured. Some popular forms of treatment are ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), Floortime and Verbal Therapy. Many of these therapies are geared towards helping develop social and emotional skills for these children and can be tremendously helpful. One thing I want to stress as heavily as possible is that autism treatment and diagnosis will change the lives of everyone in the family. In order to see real improvement you should not limit that child’s/person therapies to only the therapists office, you should implement the therapies and suggestions given by the therapist to the best of your abilities in the home so that they aren’t forgotten. The goal is to turn the therapy(ies) into routine activities.
One website that I personally is the http://www.autismspeaks.org website. They have tons of information about different therapies, autism insurance acceptance and more. Autism Speaks stands alone in terms of online resources, but when looking for an offline resource like a therapist, or advocate to work with you to help your child receive the services he/she needs, you should consider several thinks like how much you like the person, their credentials and licensing and how helpful you feel they would be to your family. If you are considering working with your child yourself, you may want to look into becoming certified or licensed in one of the therapies that are geared towards assisting autistic children (some of the therapies allow parents to become licensed or certified). Other resources that you may find helpful are books. When I wrote my book “Is My Kid Stupid? Avoiding an Educational Disaster”, I was sure to list many tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your child’s education including free resources, information for free private school tuition paid for by the state and information of how to advocate for your child. Many other authors and practitioners will offer up advice and explain what autism is and give their own theories on what causes autism (I say theories because no one really knows for sure). Nevertheless, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible, and seek the assistance of a qualified professional if you are unsure about something. Happy National Autism Month!
Many thanks to Ms. West for providing a little bit of insight into autism and its treatments. To find out more about Nzingha West and her book, Is My Kid Stupid? Avoiding an Educational Disaster, please visit http://www.ismykidstupid.com.