Autism is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is so prevalent these days that many parents ask if their young child has it the fist time I see them!
My take aways from the Fall 2015 Autism Conference sponsored by Kennedy Kreiger:
1. Occupational therapists say that not all children with sensory issues have ASD, but most children with ASD have sensory issues.
2. GI and Behavioral Speciaists say children with ASD 4X more likely have GI issues due to food selectivity, exaggerated sensory responses, behavior and meds.
3. Psychologists say that 40% of youth with ASD meet thethe criterja for anxiety disorder.
4. Adults on the spectrum say 63% of them have beenbullied.they need self advocacy skills, speech/language development, coping strategies, enhanced supervision, and social skills.
The good news: Early Intervention
Get a screening if you have concerns!
Is your child a “late talker”?
Most children have a few words at 12 months of age and a rapidly growing vocabulary. At 18 – 24 months they begin to put two words together. These early words are not pronounced perfectly, but they are consistent in meaning. Toddlers who are late to speak or not yet speaking need an evaluation.
Does your child get frustrated or give up when trying to communicate with family or friends?
Typical children are understood most of the time by family and friends by age 3. They are easily understood by age 4. At age 5 they have their speech and grammar is clear, with one or two sound errors, such a ‘f’ for ‘th’ or ‘th’ for ‘s’ or a distorted ‘r’ sound. Grammar errors such as “brung” for “brought” are common.
Every child deserves to be heard and to understand others. Each little personality is unique. When dealing with skill deficits, some children will develop significant negative behaviors due to frustration. Some will become quieter and seem “shy.” Some children just keep trying with a smile! Get an evaluation and consider therapy.
Does your toddler stutter?
Some toddlers go through a period of stuttering as their speech and language rapidly develop. Parents can be alarmed at the sudden onset and severity of the stuttering. Most children grow out of this quickly, but if a pattern develops or you have concerns, consult a therapist. Changes in the language environment are helpful and therapy may be warrented.
I value the precious nature of a heritage or “first” language. I believe parents should never stop speaking that language to their children in their home or at family gatherings. I know that the intimate family connections that tie hearts together are supported by those early communication memories. I know that “old country” and “new country” cultural connections are extremely important to grow a healthy and thriving bilingual family. It’s a richness that cannot be replaced. The respect for communication with elder monolingual relatives must be maintained, or reflect a 2nd class standing of the heritage language to children.
Apparently this view is not typical of citizens and newcomers to our United States, who value assimilation as the goal. I can see that there are social and economic reasons for this choice. It takes effort and discipline to maintain a bilingual household. If you and your child need help with this process, contact me. Public schools do not provide instruction to toddlers/preschoolers learning English as a second language. If your child is school age, instruction through ESOL is usually indirect.