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The Autism Daily Brew

5 Steps That Will Make You Crush A New Autism Diagnosis

We are starting a multi part series called A New Autism Diagnosis.

Currently approximately 1:59 kids worldwide are being diagnosed with autism.  So that is 1:59 parents who are searching for all the right answers and want to provide the best resources they can for their child.

It occurred to me that some of the parents might want some help finding a place to start and help finding resources.

So let’s take a walk through the process of getting help for a new autism diagnosis.

Hey Friends, Hey!         

Today we’re gonna talk about a new diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (asd) the signs/symptoms you may be seeing in your child, and your next best step to take now.

Parents can get an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis from health care providers such as a psychologist or developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist, or pediatric neurologist.

Early Intervention

An early diagnosis of autism in young children opens so many treatment options quickly so kids can gain new skills. Parents of children on the autism spectrum can request a free evaluation 

If you do not have a medical diagnosis of autism yet, you will want to start here.

With your child’s diagnosis, you are probably confused and wondering what to expect and even what to do next. Let’s start by talking about the early symptoms of autism.

new autism diagnosis

What Is an Autism Diagnosis?

A diagnosis of autism is not a definition or label of who your child is now.

In fact, nothing has changed between the moment they were diagnosed and all the days before.

A diagnosis serves a specific purpose which is to define your child’s group of symptoms and allow him to get help under that category.

Knowledge is power. Knowing the why of a situation allows your child to get the help he needs to move forward. He does not have to be defined by a diagnoses.

Think of this stage as a way for doors to open for your child such as therapy, specialized education support and services he that he would not qualify for without the diagnosis.

new autism diagnosis

Social Interaction and Nonverbal communication

Perhaps you have seen some or most of the American Psychiatric Association signs of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) as you have begun exploring an early childhood diagnosis. 

The symptoms listed here are common symptoms parents and family members see early in a child’s life. Your child may not have all of these symptoms and they may show up in varying degrees. It’s important to remember that each child’s symptoms will be unique to them. Signs of autism will be seen in the early developmental period between 0-3 years of age. 

Your child will have significant impairments in several of these categories.

  • repetitive patterns of behavior
  • struggle with personal relationships
  • masking (hiding) facial expressions
  • repetitive behaviors
  • hard time with nonverbal communicative behaviors
  • social communication and body language
  • persistent deficits in communication skills
  • lack of eye contact
  • lack of imaginative play
  • developmental delays
  • meltdowns in child’s behavior
  • difficulty understanding others emotions and may require a social skills group
  • hard time with sharing of interests

A note on Asperger’s disorder:  Changes in the way we understand health happens very quickly.  The diagnosis of Aspberger’s has been used for a very long time to mean mild or high-functioning, but is now being phased out.  I want you to understand what the term means because the you are going to hear Aspberger’s still used by people and in older medical information that you read.

new autism diagnosis

According to the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, autism diagnoses are divided by the level of support and the child’s ability to communicate and adapt to new situations. 

Just fyi these groups have recently been changed from mild, moderate and severe autism levels to mild support, substantial support and very substantial support levels.

Level 1:  Requires Support

Issues having a 2 way conversation

Transitioning from 1 activity to another causes stress/anxiety

May try to make connections with other people, but effort could be awkward.

Level 2: Substantial Support

Very narrow interests

Will use simple communication

Poor non-verbal communication

These issues interfere with daily functioning

Level 3: Very Substantial Support

Limited ability to speak or interact

Will not start interacting with others.  Others will need to interact with him

Repetitive behavior interferes with daily living

Will have strong reaction to change of any kind

Changing Support Levels

These levels can change throughout a lifetime.  Education, relationships, stress and other factors can effect these levels.  Also, a child may not neatly fit into one level described.  That’s ok.  These levels are a starting point to describe what types of symptoms your child is having.

Atypical autism is used to describe a child that has delays in speaking, communication, development and with relationships.  They may be diagnosed later in life and don’t have enough symptoms for an autism diagnosis.

What’s Next?

A New Autism Diagnosis: Part 2

Autism Insider Questions

FYI

There is not a blood test or medical test for a diagnosis of asd.

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