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Cynthia's question for daughter
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Cynthia's question for daughter

My grandson has gone to the Peds and they told my daughter he is about 6 to 8 months mentally behind he does not talk much (you can't understand him) And he physcially is in fine shape only he hasn't started walking yet.  He has turned 18 months recently.  They told her it could be austism?  What do you make of it?
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Autism seems to be overdiagnosed lately and doctors are scaring lots of people because they are supposed to diagnose the redflags and screen now.  Better safe than sorry, I guess.  I find therapists and the specialists have a better idea of it than the regular pediatricians.  Though the rate is increasing, it's like 1 in 150 kids now according to the latest statistics.  

You really need your daughter to get a professional assessment if the pediatrician has concerns.  Developmental pediatricians and pediatric neurologists are the ones who can diagnose autism.  The other thing is if you live in the US, the pediatrician should have referred you to your state's 0 to 3 program for early intervention.  If your grandson is not walking, they can supply physical therapy and occupational therapy that is government subsidized so it is either free or a very low copay depending on your income.  In additional to physical and occupational therapy, they also have developmental and speech therapy and possibly other therapies as well.  The program is for any child who has any developmental delays for any reason.  If you live outside the US, I don't know what other countries programs are, but I'm sure there must be something that the pediatrician could recommend.  Oh, and don't let the pediatrician give your daughter the run around about waiting 6 months to see if he improves.  

The web is a scary place to look researching autism.  The one site I found helpful for me when I was first told that my daughter might have autism (before all her therapies were set up and evaluations were done), a friend told me to go to
http://www.firstsigns.org
They have a video gallery, if you click on ASD video glossary, you can see videos of normal kids and autistic kids at various ages.  You have to create a login, and then once you login there are different menus to look at videos under.  I first thought there were only a couple videos, but it turned out there are lots of videos under each of the menus and then some of the menus had submenus.  Example, if you clicked on social interaction, the submenus were nonverbal behaviors, engaging in interaction, sharing attention, and social reciprocity.  (I just looked at the site while typing.)  
In addition to the videos this site has info about autism like red flags, screening, developmental milestones, etc.  I wish I had seen this site when my daughter was 18 months.  Her pediatrician had concerns about some of her delays but never mentioned possible autism.  She just said, let's wait and see at the 24 month checkup.  I feel looking back, that those were 6 months lost of possible therapy time.  During those 6 months she developed sensory issues and kind of didn't progress at all verbally.  And I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking for or what was normal and what wasn't.  Getting in to a specialist early is essential, I think, because that means the faster the child catches up to where they need to be or at least closer to where they need to be.  The therapists can also give you a better idea than the general pediatrician, if your grandson has autism signs or the signs signify something else.  They deal with developmental delays on a daily basis, working with the kids.  The pediatricians only see a few kids here and there with delays.

Your daughter is lucky to have you helping her.  My mother-in-law who lives nearby has been a life saver helping me out with picking therapists, figuring out what all this stuff is about.  My husband has been great too, but he has a full time job so it's harder.  My motherinlaw is retired.  Finding out your child has developmental delays, whether it's autism or something else, can be emotionally draining setting up all the doctors appointments and worrying what it could be while you wait.  Developmental pediatrician's in the US generally have a 3 to 6 month wait list to get in.  THe state's 0 to 3 programs can start before that, though, as soon as they do their evaluation and fill out all the paperwork.  So although we are waiting a few months to get in to the developmental pediatrician, therapy can start a lot sooner.  They don't need to know why there is a delay, just assess what the delays are and start therapy in those areas.  
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P.S.  This is the best time for children to have developmental delays-- not that anytime is a good time-- but there are so many things out there, so many therapies that work and can get our children back on track.  And don't just assume autism because the pediatrician said it, get an expert's opinion.
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