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Diagnosing Autism In Children

Diagnosing Autism In Children

Diagnosing autism in children is proving to be a grueling ordeal for many.

diagnosing autism

"A child with autism (three years old) pointing to the fish in an aquarium." The photo demonstrates a controlled randomized test by Kasari, Stephanny Freeman and Tanya Paparella to determine whether intensive training in sharing attention (in this case, pointing at fish) and pretend playing can lay the groundwork for the acquisition of language skills and subsequent normal development.

I remember when I found my baby book. I was in my 50’s and my babyhood days were a long way off. As I read I recognized my mothers hand writing and felt like I was getting an inside look at the mind of my mother over 50 years ago.

It was quite interesting to me but not nearly as profoundly challanging as the tale of a parents struggle with diagnosing autism in the family by Amy Markoff Johnson. Amy is a freelance writer in The Huffington Post where she details the two year struggle of parents endeavor diagnosis autism in a child.

It was a grueling path they had to follow with memoirs of a childhood filled with forms and questionaires from therapists. Of being subjected delays and dead ends.

Of visiting an unending line of referrals,audiologists and specialists, including a psychologist, speech therapists and occupational therapists. For unending evaluations, tests and therapy sessions each with a file folder full of forms to fill.

The specifics of any individual family’s diagnosis story may differ, but every individual with an autism diagnosis has gone through some version of this process. Until researchers working to find biomarkers in the blood, chemicals in the urine or characteristic brain differences create a simple and reliable test for identifying autism, we continue to rely on professional observation and testing based on the behavioral criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, combined with medical tests to rule out other conditions.

There is nothing pleasant about going through this diagnostic process. It is expensive. It is time consuming. It is draining. It is painful for the parent and for the child. When I run my thumb over the tabs of all those file folders, the scent of post-traumatic stress wafts up off of them like a layer of dust disturbed by the motion.

Fortunately, the process itself was the worst of it. Holding that diagnosis in my hand at the end of that miserable, grueling two years, I felt relief, closure and yes, hope. We’d come to see how much our son was struggling, especially since the birth of his younger sister, who took to this world as effortlessly as a fish gliding through the water. We had come to accept that our son needed more help and support than we could give him alone.

Read the whole story here…

It always hurts the most when you don’t know. The constant confusion and wonder can be much more stressful than the truth. We hear many stories of parents struggles diagnosing autism. The above story took place over two years, read the story of a mom who perservered for 6 years diagnosing autism in her children.

Do you have an autistic child you had a hard time getting an diagnosis for autism for? Tell us your story. Share this story to spread awareness of autism. Learn the sign and symptoms to help make diagnosing autism easier.

My husband and I have manila file folders with labels like “Developmental Delays: Tests and Evaluations,” “Speech Therapy Research” and “Early Intervention IFSP.” These were the keepsakes we carefully preserved, our own special needs version of bronzed