New to Autism

Updated on October 30, 2007
N.B. asks from Brunswick, ME
6 answers

My daughter has recently been diagnosed by her pedia with a mild form of Autism. This does explain all of the developmental delays I have been experiencing with her. I've even asked for advice through mamasource about potty training and talking. Anyway, we have an appt with Child Find through LISD (in Sept)and an appt with a nuerologist (in Oct) to determine the level of her disability. I do consider myself fortunate because she can ask me for things with one or two words, like "milk" "snack" "go outside?" She is attached to my husband and I, she loves to give hugs and kisses. She plays by herself for hours but lately she comes around the corner to the living room to make sure I'm there. So it could be a lot worse than what it is. She does have an obvious social disorder outside of the house/unfamiliar places and I have to be very careful to stick to her routine, or it's chaos. It stresses her out and she can't handle it. Ironically, I thought it was because she wasn't getting enough socialization so I was putting her in classes and activities with large groups of kids and it always ended in disaster. Now I realize that that was the worse thing I could be doing for her. I'm glad to have found out because it answers a lot of my questions and eases my frustrations about how to help her. Anyway, I just wanted to hear from other Moms with autistic children, how's it going for them. Any awesome books or websites to check out would be very helpful. Also, her pedia called her condition PPD not PDD. I have seen it listed as autism/ppd, through a search engine, but I can't find any info on what PPD stands for. I'd love to hear what other parents of autistic children are doing and what I can do now before we get to our appointments in Sept and Oct. I wish we didn't have to wait so long! Thanks, N.
Also, I just wanted to add that I have started keeping a journal of her behavior. I read about the majority of symtoms associated with autism and I write down the ones she does do and the ones she doesn't. I though it may help the therapist during her evaluation. Is this a useful tool?

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M.M.

answers from San Antonio on

Hi Nora. I'm happy that you can begin a good understanding of how to help your daughter. Although it is under not so happy circumstances, the path you will go now will be good for the health of your whole family. I can hopefully give you some information that can help you to better understand or at least give you a few places to get more information.
Autism is one of five disorders that falls under the umbrella of 'Pervasive Developmental Disorders'or PDD.
There are 5 types of treatment that I know of. It's important to understand that a child can not outgrow autism but the symptoms can lessen as the child develops and receives treatment.
Treatment 1: Behavioral Treatment - teaches people of all ages with autism how to communicate appropriately, this training has been known reduce behavior problems and improve adaptation
skills. ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is based on the theory that behavios rewarded is more likely to be repeated than behavior ignored. TEACHH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children) is a structured teaching approach based on the idea that the environment should be adapted to the child with autism not the child to the environment.
2. Speech and Occupational Therapy: Speech Therapy can help the child improve their lang. skills and communicate more effectively. Occupational and physical therapy can help to improve any deficiencies in coordination and motor skills. Occupational therapy can also help the child to learn to process information from the senses in more manageable ways.
3. Parent and Family education and Support: Support and training for the family is an important part of treatment for a child w/autism. Training a family how to effectively manage the syptoms of autism can reduce stress and improve the functioning of a child with autism. It's important for family members to have support also by having contact with other families w/autistic children.
4. Medications: Are not used to treat autism but are sometimes used to treat the symptoms. Pediatricians often suggest only using a medication to target the main one or two problem behaviors in order to allow the other treatments to benefit the child.
5. Specialized educational program: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 states that funds are granted to individual states with special education prgrams. IDEA specifically states that the state, 'provide free and appropriate education' and an 'individualized education program'. There are many children on IEPs in schools today.

I hope some of this info helped. I'm a student at one of the private universitie's here and I did a long study on autism. Of course there is so much more information out there and the treatments are used typically in combination. I always felt that children with autism are just normal children with a little bit more of a sensitive side. I know other mom's that have children diagnosed w/autism would love to help you and give you ideas of what works for them. Always keep an open mind and know that there is always someone there to help. Children w/autism respond best to highly structured and specialized treatment, a treatment program that is geared toward the individual needs of your daughter will be what you, your husband and your doctors will work on and your daughter will be happier because of it.

Ooops... almost forgot... there's a website that I believe a mom started. Has TONS of helpful info: http://www.angelfire.com/tx5/autism/texashelp.html
you should check it out as well as www.sanantonioautism.org
www.atcoftexas.org www.autismtreatment.info/

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U.

answers from San Antonio on

Nora,

I'm glad to hear you're getting answers and glad to hear that it is a mild form of Autism that your daughter has. I wish you all the best. Since Autism is a spectum there is a TON of information out there, some of which could be scary but probably would never have anything to do with you. If you're like me you might like to get answers from an actual human being who can know your child and point you in the right direction. There is a wonderful resource here in SA called the ONE FOR AUTISM academy. It is located on Huebner at 12003 Huebner (near Vance Jackson, a few blocks from IH 10). You can google it to get the phone number. It is a great school and I think research facility, too. I hope they can help you out in your learing and nurturing.

I don't have an Autistic child myself, but I taught art to Autistic children in the Plano district years ago. I read a lot then and it was very interesting, but it was so long ago that I can't recommend anything anymore. But call Olga at the One For Autism, she'll help you out.

Peace and hugs,
Umber

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K.F.

answers from Waco on

Hi Nora,
I don't have an autistic child, however I used to work with an autistic child. The ppd that you are refering to is a mild form of autism. The fact that she can communicate with you some is great! Her checking to see if you are there i feel is great. That means she is taking an interest in you, they don't usually do that. It is great that you stay at home with her. I might try and google autism or go to the public school and speak with the counselor and ask for information on autism. Never give up, don't stop till you feel you understand it. I'm not sure if I have helped you at all. My mom does work for MHMR and she may some information and answer some of your questions. Her name is Esther and if you would like you can e-mail me and I will pass it on to her and get you two connected! Yes keep up the journal, I think it may be very helpful the ones treating her! My e-mail address is [email protected]____.com
Good luck,
K.

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J.N.

answers from Corpus Christi on

I am happy to hear that you have more information about your child's behaviors. In order to have a complete evaluation - request that there be an Occupational Therapist to also evaluate her and ask about/address sensory issues your child may have.

As far as education - There is a the Individual's With Disabilities Education Act also known as IDEA - your child is entitled to services from the local school district as of the day he/she turned 3 years old. There are Preschool programs that should be in place under the Special Education system of your school district -if not request one... I am sure there are other children that would benefit. The point of the Preschool program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) is a smaller class size and a more structured environment with a language based curriculum.

Please don't keep your child out of school any longer than you have to because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get your child used to being in a school environment and around other children.

Please email me if you have any questions/concerns - [email protected]____.com - I am a Speech-Language Pathologist who works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Issues.

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M.Y.

answers from Austin on

I hope this helps at least for a starting point for research...

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

a group of mental disorders of infancy, childhood, or adolescence characterized by distortions in the acquisition of the multiple basic psychologic funtions necessary for the elaboration of social skills, language skills, and imagination; also characterized by restricted or stereotypical activities and interests. See Also: Asperger disorder, Rett syndrome.

This is from my medical dictionary that I use for work.

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L.B.

answers from El Paso on

I pray that you will be blessed and learn so much from your daughter's simplicity of life! Some times God gives us special children to teach us things that we are to busy to learn other wise! Don't get overwhelmed, God never gives us more than we can handle!:)

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