What to Do If You Think Your Child Might Be Autistic
- There are many reasons why you may suspect that your child has autism. Perhaps they are not communicating and talking as well as expected, or maybe you have noticed some behaviours in them that could be a sign of ASD. Perhaps they have sensory processing issues or they seem exceptionally frustrated over small changes in their routine. While some of the signs and symptoms of autism can occur in neurotypical children, if you are noticing them more and more often, and your child is struggling to develop socially, it’s worth taking it further to find out more.
· Getting Started
- Getting a diagnosis of autism for your child can be a scary process; however, it’s the first step in getting your child and your family the support that you need. Autism is not something that can be ‘cured’, but learning how your child’s brain works differently to yours and making adjustments to your family life and their school life can ensure that that they are able to be happy, healthy and thriving. The first step that you may want to take before getting a diagnosis is a simple autism test, where you will answer a series of questions about your child to determine how likely it might be that they are autistic. However, no matter the results of the test, remember that you know your child best.
· Assessments and Diagnosis
- You can ask your GP to refer you to your local Autism team under the NHS or opt for a private diagnosis, which will often be faster. What are ASD assessments? The assessment from Psymplicity will typically take around four to five hours in either one or two sessions with your child. Your child will be asked to take part in several play-based and interactive activities observed by a psychiatrist. The activities will be chosen based on the symptoms and challenges that you have noticed in your child. The next stage involves information gathering, which will include observations, reviewing available records, and conducting interviews with you and your child. Psymplicity offers private ASD assessments for children and adolescents over the age of six.
· Next Steps
- If your child is diagnosed with autism, there are some things that you can do to help make their life easier and help your family adjust. Getting support from like-minded people is a good idea and you may want to help your child improve their social life by making friends with other autistic kids in your area, who may understand your child a little better than their neurotypical peers. Autistic children may also benefit from social skills therapy and additional support with any sensory issues that they might have, such as using noise-cancelling headphones when out and about for kids who are particularly sensitive to noise. A psychiatrist can help you understand your child’s needs better and offer advice on the best adjustments and changes to make to you and your child’s lifestyle based on their symptoms.
- Signs and symptoms of autism can present differently in each individual child. Getting a diagnosis is the first step of the journey to a happy, healthy life for your child if you suspect that they may be autistic.