One of the things I’ve seen in practice over the years is when parents try to figure out with their child is the behavior they are seeing related to Autism or is it age appropriate. If you are a parent who has a neurotypical child that may be older than your Autistic son or daughter you’ve got some kind of reference point to look back on. How did they develop? How did they progress? At what age were you starting to see certain behaviors? You have to apply that to your Autistic child. If you are a parent who only has a child on the Autism spectrum and you don’t have another child in your family to reference to it can be a little more difficult because what you are trying to determine is is what you are seeing behaviorally somehow related to the neurological condition or is it just typical for kids that age.
What I recommend parents do is buy some books on childhood development. And there are a series of books that you can go to any book store and find these typically. And there are books that talk about age development from a certain age whether it is birth to two years or two years to five years. Depending on where your child is in age, whether they are 3, 4, 5 years old, and they are also on the Autism spectrum, is read about what is typical for kids that age because not everything is Autism. Some of it just may be the fact that they are a typical age and manifesting with age appropriate behavior.
One other tidbit of information I want to give you is when you start implementing a therapy, whether it is biomedical therapy and sometimes non biomedical therapies, speech therapy, behavioral therapy, etc. many times kids on the spectrum come out of their fog so to speak. And they start becoming more aware of what is around them. The environmental awareness increases so even though they may be age 5, they might now be manifesting with behavior of a 3 year old or 3 ½ year old. I’ve seen kids who were 6, 7 years old and being lifted out of this Autistic condition, and for many of them they become more aware, their speech is improved, their socialization improves, they have less anxiety but now they are doing some immature behavior because they haven’t quite caught up. So that has to be appreciated too. So think of that, think of that with respects to your kids, is the behavior you are seeing typical for Autism or just typical for their age?
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