Are you a parent or caregiver who is interested in learning the autism signs in children and how to raise awareness? I have been in your shoes and I know how scary and overwhelming a possible diagnosis must be for you. Although we knew there was something “different” about Henry by the age of 2, we didn’t get confirmation of his autism until he was 6. We actually ended up figuring out Henry had some level of autism by accident. We were watching a news program on television that was listing the signs of autism and Henry had every one of them. We immediately called our pediatrician and spent the next 4 years trying to not only get a diagnosis but to find out how we could help him as well. With signs showing up as early as 12-18 months and knowing 1 out of as little as 65 children having autism, it is more important than ever to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Here is just a brief listing of the signs and symptoms as well as ideas to raise awareness in your circle.
Learning The Autism Signs In Children And How To Raise Awareness
- Speech: Many kids with autism are delayed in their speech development, which includes the babbling and cooing babies do at around 6-9 months. Henry didn’t make those sounds until he was almost a year old and he did not begin to speak until he was closer to 18 months. He also did not put words together until he was 22 months, which is a delay of almost a year. With some kids, they may babble or speak for a short time and then stops.
- Hearing: Many parents think their child is deaf due to many signs that point in that direction. For many parents, the first clue is the child doesn’t answer when their name is called or is unable to hear at times and seems to be able to hear at others. Another sign is your child will not follow directions, which you will find later was not because they didn’t hear you. Often, these kids don’t know how to follow the command and therefore don’t.
- Movement: There are many signs of autism that are connected to movements your child makes. With kids who do have autism, they are unable to point or wave when kids their age can. Another red flag is your child may display odd movements that you cannot explain such as flapping or waving their arms. Some kids will also appear very ridged at times and then will begin to move without a problem. Many kids with autism walk on their tip toes and find running difficult to master and often do not learn to walk until they are closer to 18-22 months.
- Behavior: This is a tricky area for many parents with kids who do get diagnosed with autism. These kids tend to have oppositional and sometimes violent behavior which can be directed at other as well as themselves. Henry would hit his head with his hand or against a door or wall when he felt he had done something wrong. This did not develop until he was 3 or 4. Oftentimes these kids will manifest this in a classroom or other structured setting and will lash out at the children around them. This is not because they are mad at the child, but rather are frustrated with themselves for not being able to complete the task the other children can. I am one of 6 children and 4 of my siblings cut off contact with me because of the violent outbursts Henry had. They told me he did not have autism but rather he just had bad parents. This aggressiveness is what forces many families to either delay or take their child out of groups or school settings.
- Awareness: So, you have a diagnosis and you want everyone else to know how to get the same. The biggest and easiest way is to just talk to parents, teachers and other care givers, including doctors, ministers and family members. When we finally got a diagnosis, we received a 5 page typewritten dossier on the testing that was done, the findings as well as the typical behavior and how to address those issues. I carried that with me for years so when people would stare at Henry or ask questions, I could pull that out and start a conversation. Other things we can do is have bumper stickers on our cars, wear jewelry or apparel that has the word “autism” in it or possibly the recognizable puzzle piece which has come to symbolize the disorder. One of my very favorite shoe companies, Tsukihoshi, has recently designed a shoe that represents autism so well. I am so pleased and grateful to know that Tsukihoshi is partnering with Autism Speaks by presenting this new shoe.
Made Shoes For Kids
Not only does Tsukihoshi product well-made shoes for kids, but they look fantastic as well., I worked with Tsukihoshi on a review this past summer for a pair of shoes for Henry and he is still wearing them today. You may not be able to appreciate that miracle but with kids who do have autism, they are really rough on things and you find yourself buying new clothing shoes and other necessities every few months. The pair of shoes we received have been put through the ringer and they are still completely intact, albeit well loved! The latest shoe from Tsukihoshi just made my heart swell with love for the company because they put the autism puzzle piece symbol on the sole of the newest shoe for kids. The new child 21 style shoe ($57.00) is great looking and fits like a dream and it bears the symbol I proudly wear myself with a necklace. If you wondered how well made the shoes could be from Tsukihoshi, I can assure you they know what they are doing! The Tsukihoshi brand first debuted in Japan back in 1873 and is still going strong today. For an affordable shoe for infants through youth size 5, Tsukihoshi is a very, very smart choice!
One reader will win a pair of the new Child Style 21 Autism Speaks Shoe ($57.00)