Almost 3 years ago, Logan was diagnosed with mild/moderate Autism, and then diagnosed severe by his school a few months later. He was non-verbal, behind in all developmental milestones, and was never engaged with us. He didn’t like loud noises, trying anything new, and just always seemed agitated. Nothing I did made it better. I felt helpless, hopeless and alone. I thought I was a bad mom, and something I was doing or not doing was making him this way. When he turned three and I still hadn’t heard a sentence, I finally admitted that maybe Autism was apart of him. I started looking for answers.
Luckily, I had a great pediatrician to point me in the right direction. I got Logan the help he needed / needs – and now, three years and a whole lot of hard work (done mostly by Logan!!) later, I can’t believe how far we’ve come. Logan is now putting 3-5 word sentences together, loves to play with his friends at school, and is looking me in the eye right now as I type this asking for his iPad. I can tell him it’s on the piano, he understands me, and is now proceeding to the piano to get his iPad. That’s HUGE. That represents 3 years progress for us. And, even though it’s been hard and not the motherhood I planned to have – I live for those moments and I wouldn’t have him any other way.
It was hard to navigate this new world we live in day to day. I didn’t know where to start. That’s why I want to let you know what to do if you suspect your child is autistic.
- Screen your child with this online M-Chat. This is where we started, and where the doctor will most likely have you start as well – we sat down together and took this quiz and saw all the red flags. This made us more confident about moving on to diagnosis.
- Take the quiz answers to your pediatrician. Discuss them, and then get the following resources: (3 and 4)
- A development pediatrician/ASD center you can take your child to for evaluation. They will pinpoint the end of the spectrum your child is on, and steer you towards the right services you will need set up for your child including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA therapies and more.
- The number of the special services director for your school district. This is a big one, because your school district will probably have Speech and OT services offered for free, and autism preschool or classrooms your child can go to 3-5 days a week for much needed socialization and additional therapies!
- Start therapy at home. You, yes you, are your child’s best therapist. We use a strategy called the P.L.A.Y project every day – it feels natural and will connect you to your child’s world, where you can finally meet them. I wrote a post about it that you can read for more information here.
I am very passionate about Autism Awareness and Acceptance, and I run a Facebook group called Ausome Parents, where parents come to ask questions and support each other everyday. Please join us, we are so happy to help!