Autism is like a different operating system for the mind. It’s a neurological variation that leads to a different way of seeing the world. Researchers classify autism as a developmental disability. That’s why most children receive early autism intervention after their parents notice that their social interactions or verbal skills are delayed during childhood.
It’s important for parents to know that autism doesn’t always mean that their children won’t be able to develop the same level of social and verbal skills as their peers. Often, it simply means that a different approach to cultivating those skills is necessary to bring out the their best.
Autism parenting requires you to learn numerous terms used to describe autism symptoms. Some involve very fine distinctions between similar behaviors. In the not-too-distant past, autism was only one of many different names for these developmental disorders. Parents are still likely to see descriptions of behaviors classified under names like Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder, and many others.
Therapists and researchers understood how difficult it was to navigate through many different complex definitions for behaviors that were closely related. They decided to merge them all into a single diagnosis called Autism Spectrum Disorder. That’s why it’s now common to hear the term, “on the spectrum.”
Every person with autism is different, and responds to different therapies. Not only can most autistic children grow up to participate fully in adult life, many are also blessed with exceptional abilities that outstrip their peers. It’s quite common for autistic children to exhibit remarkable abilities in music, visual arts, and academic skills. In a lot of families, these are hidden behind slower development of speech and socialization.
That’s why early autism intervention is so important for young children. By offering acceptance and support, along with developmental strategies based on individual needs, every child can achieve the best outcomes possible.
ASD applies to many different behaviors. That makes it hard to put an exact number on how many people are autistic. The United States Centers for Disease Control estimated that as many as 1 in 68 children in the US are on the autism spectrum. That means that more than 3 million people of all ages in the US are autistic to some extent. That means the autistic population worldwide would number in the tens of millions.
Autism isn’t distributed evenly throughout the population. It’s much more common in boys than in girls. Boys are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed on the spectrum. Many early autism intervention programs were centered on helping boys due to this disparity. That’s changing rapidly. Individual differences are a much more important factor than gender when developing strategies to help children on the spectrum.
There’s no medical test you can take to diagnose autism. It takes specially trained doctors and behavioral experts to produce an accurate appraisal. There is a wide range of symptoms for autism. In almost all cases, parents are the first to notice them.
Some common signs that your child needs in-depth autism testing are a failure to make eye contact, a lack of response to their name, or using toys in unusual ways, especially in repetitive ways. Language delays are very common. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises all parents to have their children screened for autism at between 18 months and 2 years of age. Parents who notice behaviors they don’t understand can ask for a screening anytime. Many people aren’t diagnosed until they’re adults.
Have you ever wondered why children play games? It’s been said that play is the school of rules. When children interact with others during games and other activities, they learn important life lessons about communicating and cooperating with others. They develop verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and they learn how to follow directions to a logical conclusion. Play is essential for the development of all children.
Play. Connect. Grow. understands the need for children to learn through play. We use our original techniques to make important connections during play activities. Our courses in play therapy will help any parent make a connection with their autistic child that will enrich and educate everyone involved. It’s a fun and gentle way to boost social development and communication skills on the child’s own terms. Another side benefit is the increase in healthy, robust physical activity that comes with play therapy. It’s stimulating for the mind and the body.
If you’d like to learn more about the Play. Connect. Grow. approach to play therapy for autistic children, contact us today for friendly, easy to understand answers to all your questions.