Autism Spectrum Disorder, commonly referred to as ASD or simply autism, is a complicated disorder affecting the development of children. Children with autism display behavior ranging from mildly to severely maladaptive. This is the reason that a doctor will describe autism as a spectrum disorder since some children only have minor effects from the condition while others are completely disabled by it.
Medical researchers cannot currently isolate a single cause of autism. However, the reason for this disorder is not nearly as important as it is for parents to receive an early diagnosis and intervention for their child. This will help them to be as successful in school, in the community and at home.
Recognizing the Early Signs of Autism
Typically, autism isn’t obvious to parents and caregivers until infants and toddlers fail to reach the same developmental milestones as their peers. Some of the earliest indications of the developmental disorder include:
Delay in speaking or not speaking at all
Fixation on certain objects or rituals
Using language repetitively and/or engaging in ritualistic physical motions such as hand flapping
Little to no interest in playing or developing relationships with siblings or peers
Consistent lack of eye contact
Difficulty with spontaneous play or actions that disrupt routines
If you recognize any of these signs in your child, ask your doctor for a referral to a childhood developmental disorders specialist for an evaluation.
How Mental Health Affects the Well-Being of the Entire Family
While autism can be considered a mental health disorder, caring for a child with autism can also affect the mental well-being of parents and siblings. Each person must take care of themselves as well since the way they think and feel affects how they treat others and respond to everyday life situations. Consuming a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are important places to start in regulating mental health. Caregivers who feel overwhelmed shouldn’t hesitate to ask their doctor for a referral to a therapist.
How to Prepare Your Child with Autism for a Medical Visit
When scheduling the appointment, let the person know how the staff can make it less stressful for your child. For example, perhaps your child could wait in a quieter waiting room before the appointment so he or she doesn’t become overstimulated by the noise from other children.
You can prepare your child for the office visit by reading books together about going to the doctor and practicing some of the tests that might take place such as a blood pressure reading. Bringing your child’s favorite comfort item can also help him or her be a good patient. Explain this to the staff so no one tries to take it away.
PrimeCare Urgent Care is Here for Pressing Needs
While you need a specialist to diagnose autism, it’s good to know that our urgent care center is available seven days a week for everyday concerns like the flu or an injury that can’t wait for treatment.