Saturday, May 22, 2010

And why are we confused?

After talking with one of my son's therapists yesterday, it really became apparent we have a problem with autism treatment education on all fronts.  Not that I didn't really know that already, but I guess it just made me realize how bad it is and how important it is to get the information out there.  And I hope she won't be upset that I'm using this discussion we had as an example, if she ever reads this, but we discussed the confusion another family she had been working with was experiencing.  And this wonderful woman, my son's therapist, was trying to help this poor mom with it all.  After talking with her about it at great length, I discovered that she (our therapist) didn't really know what these kiddos were supposed to do initially to get proper a diagnosis.  And unfortunately, neither did the child's pediatrician.  This poor mom was sent down to Children's for a basic speech eval, when her child had already had one with the Birth to 3 program, and that was 8 months ago.  Nothing has happened since nor does the parent understand what is supposed to happen from this point on.

I am very much blessed with a pediatrician who is proactive, pro patient, and savvy when it comes to autism and spectrum disorders, but for others, like the mom I just mentioned, don't really know what the process for diagnosis or treatment is or even catch the child's potential for autism (the nurse actually saw it before the doctor did in this case).

What's really important for every parent of a newly diagnosed (or waiting to be diagnosed) child is to understand the immediate need for therapeutic intervention.  No matter what the case, if a child is exhibiting a developmental delay that looks to mimic an autistic disorder, they need to be evaluated as soon as possible.  And that doesn't necessarily mean being evaluated by a specialist at a hospital.  Just by a specialist or clinic that provides therapy.  For children younger than 3, an organization like the Birth to 3 program through the county, and after age 3, the school district.  A developmental delay is a developmental delay, and while having a diagnosis is helpful in understanding how the child "ticks", it is not necessary to get services.  The child needs therapy now and waiting for a clinic to tell you your kid has autism before you get services is a waste of precious time.  Why so many professionals are in the dark on this, I don't know.  Everyone at this point agrees that early intervention is key and intervention before the age of 4, when a child's brain is still rapidly developing, is the most beneficial.

So I urge all parents, if you or your pediatrician are at all suspecting, please do not hesitate to schedule an evaluation for your child.  All it takes is a phone call to get started, and you don't need a physician to grant you permission to do so.  You will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing where your child stands developmentally, and will have given them the gift of early intervention if they indeed qualify.  If you have further questions about this topic, please feel free to post it to the community in the question and answer section below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts