“We think your child should be evaluated.” Hearing these words from a pediatrician, teacher or school counselor can be upsetting. But having your child tested for learning and attention issues is an important step toward helping his/her manage their challenges. It’s also an opportunity to help them make the most of their education and life.
Many parents question whether or not their child’s struggles in school or their social lives are worth being tested for autism or not. But if you notice an issue with communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, or extra difficulties in a specific subject, it wouldn’t hurt to have your child tested.
Mothers and fathers often worry that their children will be upset, or that their self-esteem will be lowered if they find out that they have a learning disability. To your surprise, many kids find it to be a relief to finally understand why they are struggling in school, or why they have trouble making friends. When answers are finally given, children realize that they are not ‘stupid’ but instead they just have difficulty learning in certain areas.
Taking your child to get screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can help you and your child identify their strengths and weaknesses. Plus, it can qualify your child for additional support in school, which will end up making school, and life, less stressful for them.
The evaluation process involves standardized testing and observations from professionals who have training in special education, or the area of development they are testing your child for. If you have you decide to have your child tested by the school, your child’s teachers and the school psychologist would be testing and observing them. They will even observe your child directly in the classroom, this way they can see how they react to different situations. The individuals who evaluate your child will review your child’s grades, records, and will talk with you to see where you notice your child’s weaknesses.
After your child is tested for ASD, you can now have a clearer idea on what subjects they need support with, and what subjects they can be more independent in. Additionally, your child may qualify for special education services and support. These services and support plans legally protect your child’s education. Some examples of the legal protection would be the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504). Each of these protection plans assure that your child is going to get the best education they possibly can, while assisting your child along the way.
The main reason you shouldn’t think twice about having your child screened for autism, should be that it would make your life, and your child’s life much easier. Without knowing the true reason why your child refuses to do school work, you may just think your child is lazy or disobedient. Having proper support and getting the right help results in less fighting at home. In addition, there will be less arguments about homework and less arguments about going to school.
Typically, parents want the best for children. While taking your child to get tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder is a frightening step, it is also a big one that will benefit your child in the long run. They will finally see the reason why they have so much trouble reading, writing, speaking, or doing math problems.
Above are the signs of a child who has high functioning ASD as a grade school child, but the best way to help your child is to test them for Autism Spectrum Disorder as soon as possible. For decades, it was thought that ASD couldn’t be diagnosed and treated until a child was about 3. Today, that’s considered late in the game. New screening tools are able in many cases to identify children at risk at 18 months of age and even younger. The following signs may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development and is in need of an evaluation, according to First Signs, a group promoting early diagnosis of developmental disorders. The following include: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or later, No back-and-forth communications such as sounds, smiles, or facial expressions by 9 months of age, no pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months of age, no words by 16 months, any loss of speech, babbling, or social skills at any age.
What children on the autism spectrum have in common is difficulty relating to their world and the potential to improve, sometimes dramatically, if they are diagnosed and treated early in life. Don’t wait it out, and go with your parental instincts! Getting your child tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder may be one of the best things you can do for your infant, even if you just have a ‘hunch’.
Fortunately, with the technology advancements that we have today, every child with low functioning or high functioning with Autism Spectrum Disorder is able to improve on their schooling, and social skills. But the only way they can improve, is if they have the proper care. Do your child a favor in the very beginning of their lives, because this will enhance their chances of succeeding later in life.
Being diagnosed with a disability does not mean it is the end for someone, in fact is only the beginning! Taking the important step into having your child screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder is a frightening and important step. But this step is crucial! Your child can and will improve, but that has to start with you!