Many families describe the process of watching a child grow and learn to be one of the most rewarding aspects of childcare. A child’s first words or first steps are events announced to families and neighbors. Communities share advice giving first time parents or caregivers information that helps them identify which milestone they can expect their child to reach in the next month or year.
When new parents or caregivers are exposed to vast amounts of information about what “should” happen, it prompts many to ask “what should I do if I feel that my child is not developing the way I was expecting they would?” When families begin to bring questions about their child’s development to their pediatrician, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a diagnosis that may come up as a possibility.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) identifies several signs and symptoms that a caregiver may see in a child with ASD: a lack of eye contact, difficulty understanding non-verbal cues, or getting upset by a slight change in routine. ASD is what is known as a “spectrum disorder,” which the NIH explains refers to a wide range of symptoms and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD.
While symptoms of autism are typically recognized within the first two years of life, people can grow into adulthood with an autism Spectrum disorder and never receive proper diagnoses.
For many families, the word “autism” can be scary because with it comes many unanswered questions. Families want to know if their child will ever speak or be able to care for themselves as adults. While symptoms of autism are typically recognized within the first two years of life, people can grow into adulthood with an autism Spectrum disorder and never receive proper diagnoses. According to the NIH, one in 68 children has been identified with some form of ASD. While there is no known cure for an ASD, there are many organizations that provide services to children with an ASD and their families across WNY.
Aubrey Sedor, a Medicaid Service Coordinator who works for one of these organizations, Autism Services Inc., is responsible for securing these services for families who need support caring for a child with an ASD.
“I often have parents call and tell me that they think their child has autism and they need services for their child,” Sedor explains. “The first thing I tell them is that they should have their child evaluated. They can find people to help them with this process by talking to a pediatrician”.
It is important to remember that every child is different and there are many social and biological factors that can contribute to a child’s development. Any time you are concerned about your child’s development, it is important to talk to the child’s doctor and ask questions.