Every child, whether they have autism or not, is different. Some will cut teeth earlier than others, some will start to babble and coo or smile at things earlier — if we were all exactly the same, this world would be pretty boring. But how do you know if you as a parent should be concerned that your child might be showing signs of autism?
Almost any parenting guide that you pick up will give you benchmarks for when your child should be doing a number of things — rolling over, sitting up by themselves. pulling themselves up on furniture or other objects, etc.
If you are concerned that your child may be showing signs of developmental delays, talk to your family doctor or pediatrician. They may tell you not to worry, but remember that they are not with your child on a daily basis so they may not notice the same things that you as a parent will.
All states have a program to help determine whether a baby or toddler has developmental delays. In some states, this program is called Birth to 3 or something similar to that. Your doctor’s office should be able to direct you to the program in your state. If it is determined that your child has development delays in any area, this program will guide you to obtain help for your child. If your child is older than 3, concerns may be screened by school districts or other public programs.
You Are Your Child’s Advocate!
The one thing that I cannot stress enough is to investigate any concerns as soon as possible! With any type of delay, the sooner there is intervention to address the issue the better! Some parents are more concerned with their child being “labeled” and put off getting the help that the child needs, taking the stand that the issue will correct itself. However, if you start getting your child the help that they need at an early age, the better chance there is of correcting it!
It can be scary and daunting as a parent to consider that your child might have a different life ahead of them than what you pictured when you learned that you were going to be a parent. Do your research by looking at the websites of various autism organizations.
I know a lot of parents of children with autism and I see how much it has helped children to start getting the therapies that they need when they are infants or toddlers rather than waiting until they are in preschool or elementary school. It is your job as a parent to ensure that your child is taken care of — expressing any concerns to see if something is wrong is part of taking care of your child!
If you have any comments, questions or ideas to share on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below! Or maybe you have another area related to autism that you would like me to talk about! Just let me know!