As a parent, suspecting your child has autism is a difficult thing to go through. It can be especially difficult if you aren’t familiar with autism and you’re worried about what it might mean for your child.
The first step towards helping any child with autism is to get a professional diagnosis. You can do this with a developmental pediatrician in Dallas. However, many parents put this off because it can feel overwhelming. If you’re worried about this process, take a look at the information below for clarification.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism can present challenges in children as young as six months old. You may notice that your child has difficulty meeting milestones. Children with autism will develop differently from other children of the same age.
Your child may find socializing difficult, along with speech, motor function, and attention. You can professionally test for Autism from the age of eighteen months. You can do this in person or via teleconference in Texas.
What to Expect?
As parents, you’ll know to expect certain milestones in the first eighteen months of a child’s life. Smiling, speech, crawling, and walking are just some of them. But, what happens if your child doesn’t reach these milestones or takes much longer than average?
When you mention it to your pediatrician, he may talk to you about referring you for an Autism test. Typically, these tests are often performed at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months and are developmental screenings.
Depending on your child’s symptoms, you may see several people at your screening. These could include a pediatrician, speech therapist, physical therapist, and psychologist.
You’ll need to fill out some forms, and you’ll be expected to attend several appointments before a diagnosis. The earlier a diagnosis can be made, the better for your child.
How to Prepare Your Child For Assessment
You may be nervous about preparing your child for each assessment, but you needn’t be. As you and your child get to know the staff at Developmental Pediatrics, you’ll become more comfortable with the process and understand that your child is in good hands.
You can do a few things to prepare your child for each visit.
Know Language Patterns
Children with Autism tend to have unique language patterns. Your child may repeat certain words or sentences or show an interest in a particular subject, sometimes intensely.
Nonverbal children may display certain behaviors to communicate, such as not making eye contact. The more your specialists know about how your child uses language and communication, the easier it will be to conduct assessments.
Subjects of Interest
If your child is more likely to communicate when talking about certain subjects, you should encourage that. However, bringing items that will encourage intense interest may deter the assessment, so it’s best to leave those at home.
It will be important for you to clarify how best your child learns. When you try to study with your child, how does he respond? Does he find it easier to learn indoors at a table, or would he rather be outdoors in the park?
Would your child prefer to learn with words, or is he more of a visual learner? Anything you observe when your child is learning new things will be of value to your specialists in determining a diagnosis for your child.
Stick to Your Child’s Routine
There may be certain times of the day where your child feels more comfortable breaking his routine for the assessments. However, it’s perfectly natural for your child to feel some anxiety over what may happen.
You can help by sticking to your child’s routine up until you need to leave your home. Explaining what will happen in segments will also help your child to cope with the change. For example, will the car journey be long or short?
Will you need to go in an elevator to get there? Will you use a teleconference instead of visiting? The more you can explain to your child, the less apprehensive he will be. You can also use objects to explain the schedule.
For instance, a breakfast bowl will signify breakfast, and a toothbrush will signify brushing his teeth. You could use a toy car for the car journey and a Lego person to represent your specialist.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are a great way to keep your child calm and distract him from any anxiety he may be feeling. If you’re used to practicing breathing techniques, these will be useful at your visit. You can also engage in meditation techniques and ask your child to visualize a happy place, like the beach or a forest walk.
If your child enjoys music, take some calming music to your appointment and allow your child to listen with headphones if things become overwhelming. If your child doesn’t like being around many people, you may want to ask for a private area to wait, rather than a public waiting room.
Preparing for Your Visit to a Developmental Pediatrician in Dallas
It may not be easy taking the first step and visiting a developmental pediatrician in Dallas, but you may get the answers you’ve been searching for. Children who are diagnosed early have a much higher chance of reaching their milestones with the help of specialists.
Take a look at our website and what the benefits of assessment are for parents and children with ASD.