Autism is a condition that is surrounded by stigma and misunderstanding, so it is important to have resources that can educate your child with autism as well as siblings, friends, and family members. The Sesame Street and Autism app can serve as a helpful resource with articles about autism, strategies for communicating with your child, and interactive family routine cards. There are also videos featuring real families sharing their stories.
W hile technological resources are beneficial in raising a child with autism, you should also have the hands-on support of programs like those offered at The Behavior Exchange.Autism is a condition that is surrounded by stigma and misunderstanding, so it is important to have resources that can educate your child with autism as well as siblings, friends, and family members. Our Plano center strives to provide children with autism and their families with therapy, school success strategies and outreach, and summer programs to build valuable life skills. Call us today at (888) 716-8084 to discuss your child’s needs and learn more about our programs.
Each parent may have a unique reaction to a diagnosis of autism. Although the child with autism is still the same, sweet little boy or girl, the presence of autism symptoms does mean that he or she will need some extra help and attention. This change in family dynamics can be difficult for siblings in particular. Each member of the family can find the support he or she needs at a family-centered ABA school that provides comprehensive autism therapy programs.
Watch Out for Signs of Autism
If your child with autism is older than his or her siblings, it’s particularly important to be mindful of possible signs of autism in the younger siblings. Siblings of children with autism do have a higher risk of developmental delays . Consider talking to your child’s pediatrician or ABA therapist if the younger sibling does not babble by 12 months or use single words by 16 months. Failure to make eye contact is another possible sign of autism, as is the sudden reversal of language acquisition. For example, the child may be developing typically in terms of language use, but then inexplicably begin to verbalize less.
Foster Strong Communication Skills
Communication is essential for strong relationships, however, siblings of children with autism may have difficulty expressing their feelings. They may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to tell their parents that the sibling is upsetting them. Over time, the failure to communicate and resolve the issue may lead to resentment. Encourage the siblings to freely share their concerns and feelings with you without responding in a judgmental fashion. Use observations to facilitate the discussion. For instance, you might say, “I notice that Jonah didn’t want to play trucks with you. That must have been upsetting.” Encouraging the sibling to freely communicate can help him or her to understand that these types of feelings are normal. Ongoing communication also provides you with opportunities to resolve minor problems before they escalate into major meltdowns.
The Behavior Exchange provides personalized therapy and parent training for families affected by autism spectrum disorders in Plano and throughout the DFW area. Our ABA school encourages sibling participation in our autism therapy programs to support their relationships with siblings with autism.
Unlike many conditions, there is no available blood test, diagnostic imaging scan, or other medical tests that can definitively diagnose autism spectrum disorders . Despite this, diagnosing autism as early as possible is imperative. When parents receive an autism diagnosis early in the child’s life, they can quickly arrange for early intervention services that will support the child during the crucial years of development. Typically, the process for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders begins with parental or pediatrician observations of developmental delays.
Scheduling an Appointment with a Pediatrician
Although your family’s experience may be different, the diagnostic process for autism may start with an appointment with a pediatrician. During your child’s regular check-ups, the pediatrician is likely to ask you some basic questions about his or her development. While some variations are to be expected, significant delays in motor skills, social skills, language acquisition, or other areas of development may warrant further evaluation. In other cases, parents become concerned about their children’s development and they may bring these issues to the attention of the pediatrician. Parents who are alert to the possible signs of autism can contribute to an early diagnosis.
Consulting a Behavior Analyst
If the pediatrician finds that the child’s development raises concerns, he or she may refer the parents to a behavior analyst. However, even if the pediatrician is not overly concerned about the child’s development, parents can certainly talk to a specialist regardless. Behavior analysts can conduct an in-depth evaluation of the child’s ability to follow the rules of conversation, understand the ambiguous use of non-literal language, use and interpret nonverbal communication cues, and use communication appropriately within a social context. If the child is found to have an autism spectrum disorder, the behavior analyst can use the findings of the evaluation to inform the autism therapy recommendations .
Parents who are concerned that their children aren’t developing at a rate that is on target for their age range can contact The Behavior Exchange. We are an ABA school near the DFW area that provides comprehensive and compassionate evaluation and intervention services based on evidence-based techniques. Parents can reach us by calling (888) 716-8084.
- Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy
- Support for Parents
- Tips for Children with Autism
- Signs of Autism
- Early Start Program
- Child Development
- One on One Therapy
- ABA Therapy
- social skills
- one-on-one therapy
- sleep disturbances
- parent training
- sensory sensitivities
- early intervention
- recreational activities
- GI Disorder
- Autism Therapy
- High-Functioning Autism
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- IEP Review Service
- repetitive behaviors
- behavior plan