Language barriers

No matter what your child is battling in life, the language barrier, especially when young or when non-verbal is what hinders diagnosis, and places a barrier between problem and solution.  I cheated and just reblogged a friend’s blog as well she explains it so well, probably better than I can. She highlights just how much it effects the child, and how our children just want to be loved, respected and understood above all else

The Little Super Hero

One of the biggest things which challenged us in obtaining help for Jacqueline and even her sisters, was the barrier of language.

For children they don’t have a developed vocabulary with which to express themselves and what they are feeling or experiencing….tummies hurt, head is funny, I fell and hurt my bum! Kiss it better! while offering the injured posterior in all innocence for a magic healing kiss just like any boo boo on the knee……. :-/

Even educated adults struggle with conveying what they experience when it comes to mental illness, professionals have their own language their Own Jargon, to discuss between themselves the features and symptoms of illness, while only those who have spent years being chewed up by the system have picked up enough of the language to trip and stumble their way through communicating symptoms and experiences.

for Shannon her’s were her “Illusions”, she has had…

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Autism – A Bit of History

This is a long article (see link on bottom of page), but well worth the read. It seems a guy called Asperger was the first to discover Autism..but he was German, and it was war time. He had an assistant, and he helped that assistant flee Germany to America. This assistant then worked for a guy called Kanner. Now Kanner also discovered Autism and is the one who is given credit for doing so because his country was not at war.So Kanner published his paper earlier than Asperger, plus it was in English, so more widely read. THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN DIAGNOSIS – Asperger saw Autism as widely spread, not rare like Kanner. Asperger saw it as a spectrum like we do nowadaysthis was in the 1930’s. Kanner saw it as caused by the home environment and said that removing the child and removing them from the cause would help them. Hence why Autistic people were institutionalised, and not widely understood. These differences in understanding Autism is why today all of the sudden we seem to have a greater amount of people being diagnosed and people think it is an epidemic….it is not, we just know more about autism. Kind of ruins the immunisation cause theory too

Bounce, bounce…oh look shiny… crash, crunch, oops sorry – the ADHD child

popt, psshew, bang…tictic…popt, psshew, bang…tictic…popt, psshew, bang…tictic…REPEAT.
For 15 minutes.
So what is that sound?
Well, it was something MR 15 did when he was 14. He would lie on the floor, place a ping-pong ball in his mouth and launch it up to the ceiling. No mean feat since our press tin ceilings are 12ft up. He would do this over and over.

It would leave me watching the clock. Finally, 8 pm would hit:

“Hey, kiddo, time to take your Ritalin.”

(we were new to medicating for ADHD, hey until they said he had it, I did not even think he did, I am use to busy in this house).

“But Mum it makes me not able to sleep.”

(maybe, but he has always had sleeping issues, and if he did not take it, I would get an hour of this before he went to bed).

“Well let’s compromise and just try one tablet, not two ok?”

25 minutes later and he is no longer doing it, he is calm and texting on his phone.

Until he was medicated I never actually realised just how busy this child was, after all we are an active household. His brother had also been active but had settled when he hit the teen years. Mr 15 got worse when he hit them.

Argh I need a way to identify my sons. Look I am going to be mean and call them Thing 1 and Thing 2. Actually if you have ever read Cat in the Hat, it is not mean; it is totally accurate for how they were when they were younger.

I never realised just how much Thing 2 paced, fidgeted and drove me nuts. Sure I knew how much he picked things up that were not his, fidgeted with them and then dumped them in some entirely random place, making it hard for me to know where anything ever was. A typical day for me could be:

“Shoes. Where are my shoes? I swear I left them by the door. Ok, there is one, under the sofa, now where is the other?”
Walk into another room, there it is by the fridge.
“Argh, Thing 2 strikes again.”

“Where did I put the packet of worming paste for the cats…I swear it was here on the corner of the bench. Wait up. Think back, what was Thing 2 doing while you made school lunches. He had a blue box in his hands. Crap, that was the worming paste, where would he have put it?”

Took an hour of searching, eventually found it on his brother’s bookshelf.

Walking him to school was not much better.

“THING 2 STOP! you have to check the road before you cross it.”

“Thing 2, please look where you are going, yes poles do hurt when you walk into them.”

Poor Thing 2 he was always misplacing things. Always distracted. Always crashing into obstacles due to being distracted. That kid had bruises he never even remembered getting. He was always in trouble for something that he did not even realise he was doing. He was always breaking things.

Before medication, he spent a lot of time pacing back and forth like a caged animal. He barely conversed. He did not read, and even computer games did not hold that much interest. TV shows at night time were ok, but only if he could fidget while watching them.

After medication, it was like having a different child. Suddenly he was conversing with us, and boy did I love just how clued in and intelligent he was. He stopped pacing, and I suddenly realise just how busy he had been, and no I do not miss it. Now, days he still needs to get out and burn energy, but his world is not going to fall to bits if he decides to stay inside and play online with other teens instead.

Why did I fear ADHD medication so much?
I am so glad we took this leap, and I bet Thing 2 is too. After all, he is no longer getting in trouble just for grating his poor Mum’s frayed nerves. I also think I am a little less frayed now days too.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder – The demon that lurks within


It‘s 6 am. I am exhausted, I have not been sleeping properly, in fact, no one in my house has been sleeping properly, but it is time to get Mr 15 up so he can attend school. I walk into his room and try to awaken him, I plead with him. I tell him if he wants spending money for his weekend away he needs to get to school. This statement is met with this response:

“You‘re a fucking whore. You blackmailing bitch. I fucking hate you. Fuck off and leave me alone.”

Now how do you think I reacted to this (other than feeling upset)?

Did I:

  1. Yell at him
  2. Kick his arse out of bed and smack him
  3. Calmly assess the situation and pick the best way to react

So you picked number 1?
Ok, I yelled at him…Bam the problem starts escalating and before we know it we have a full on fight occurring, many unpleasant things are said. Everyone is left feeling exhausted and hurt.

You picked number 2 because you know bad kids need firm discipline?
Well, to kick his arse out of bed, I would have to awaken his father, and well the result of that would be Mr 15 physically attacking his father. A threatened child with ODD (especially with co-morbid disorders such as ASD) is very much likely to react completely different to a Neurotypical (NT) child when faced with physical discipline.

Did you pick number 3? 

Good for you because that is the best way to handle the situation. How would you like being barely awake and suddenly yelled at or hit? No one would like that, just like I did not like the verbal abuse thrown at me.

So, I took a deep breath and reminded myself, I AM THE ADULT IN THIS SITUATION. I realised I had been on the attack, never a good approach with an ODDer. Also I realised yeah he has not been sleeping, most likely self-induced (but not always), but seeing I have not been sleeping much either, I felt his pain. So I walked out of the room and let him sleep. Ok, so he is missing an extra day of his course. It is better than having an explosion, a meltdown at 6 am. Later I took off to an appointment, came home, went into talk to him and I was met with an apology.

I am sorry mum, you‘re not a blackmailing bitch, and you definitely are not a whore. Thank you so much for letting me go back to sleep.

His freely offered apology opened up discussion on his behaviour, in a non-confrontational manner. I pretty much said, “Thank you for apologising. I appreciate that. I understand tired, but it is never acceptable to swear at me and call me names.”

doubt anyone without an ODD teen is thinking right now that I am an enabler. I am not. Yesterday, I forced him out of bed and onto that bus after just 2 hours of sleep. I did hand him an energy drink as he left the house (something I would never normally do, but I needed him up and at school). It was simple gesture, that said, “I love you, and I know you are struggling.So here take my super power in a can since you have no time to have a coffee and you swallowed your ADHD medicine with no drink.” (Hey, I never ever claim to be perfect, I have bad parenting moments often, this was one of them).

So by now you, if you have no clue what I am talking about you will be wondering, what is ODD and why does it make this mum seem like a push over?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a childhood disorder that is characterised by negative, defiant, disobedient and often hostile behaviour toward adults and authority figures primarily. To be diagnosed, the behaviours must occur for at least a period of 6 months.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is characterised by the frequent occurrence of at least four of the following behaviours: losing temper, arguing with adults, actively defying or refusing to comply with the requests or rules of adults, deliberately doing things that will annoy other people, blaming others for his or her own mistakes or misbehaviour, being touchy or easily annoyed by others, being angry and resentful, or being spiteful or vindictive.

Negativistic and defiant behaviours are expressed by persistent stubbornness, resistance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers. Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits, usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds.

Hostility can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others or by verbal aggression (usually without the more serious physical aggression seen in Conduct Disorder).

(PsychCentral, 2015)

So what are some indicators that your child may have ODD?

A person with ODD is likely to:

  • Lose their temper at simple things often
  • Will argue with adults or others in charge
  • Will actively defy or refuse to follow requests or rules
  • Blames others for poor behaviour or mistakes
  • Deliberately annoys others
  • Can be very easily annoyed
  • Is often angry or feels resentful
  • Can be spiteful or vindictive

(PsychCentral, 2015)

What can be done to assist an individual with ODD?

Firstly a few simple rules to remember:

Avoid being confrontational, that will only escalate the situation

Never, ever fall into the trap of harsh punishments. If you want to help your child, make the punishments fair and fitting of the action, but also balance out their days with rewards for good actions. No one likes always to be in trouble, we all like to be recognised for the good things we do.

Try not to be too firm, nor too soft. The ODD child needs to learn that their behaviour has consequences and rules apply to everyone

Remember that you are the adult in this situation. If you need to step back and re-evaluate what you are doing, stop the escalation process.

When your child is diagnosed with ODD, you will be given parental or family therapy because the most efficient way to correct this issue is parental training. This is no reflection on your ability to parent; it is just the best way forward. Your therapy will teach you to gradually train your child‘s behaviour into more acceptable behaviour.

Your child may be prescribed medications to aide with mood stabilisation.

When it comes to discipline in our home, we found using an action/consequence plan worked. To start utilising this sit down with your child and chose a number of bad behaviours that need working on and then get them to suggest fair consequences. Guide them when choosing the consequence, as it must fit the situation. For example, we chose our first action to be swearing at others in an aggressive or demeaning manner. The consequence we chose was loss of mobile phone for 1 hour. Now this seems like a short period, but choosing the consequence comes down to knowing what will affect your child the most. Losing his phone for one hour was more effective than losing his Xbox for a month. Now this consequence was accumulative. Every poor action of swearing added up. Also, if he refused to hand over the phone, he was reminded that we had the power to cancel the SIM. It was usually given up pretty quickly after that. One day he refused to go to bed. His girlfriend had a habit of ringing him and keeping him up until 2 am. Not good when he needs to be up by 6:30 at the latest. He refused to hand over the phone as he was not swearing. So he got a nasty surprise when we rang his phone carrier and got them to block all incoming callshe had no credit so could not make calls. Another good idea with an ODD teen is to have pay as you go phones. This gives you a way to reward good behaviour, monthly credit is not cheap, but they appreciate it more when they go without for a month.

The action/consequence plan removed me from the disciplinary equation. He broke a rule, I referred to our visual list posted near his bedroom door, and he knew he had to face the consequence; after all he helped make them. We do not use ti now; as outbursts are not occurring as often, and he is learning to self-regulate more. This method is good as it reinforces that for every action a person makes in this life, there is going to be a reaction, and not all of them are good. Seeing as this does not change once a child reaches adulthood, it is good to reinforce it at a young age, especially with the ODD child.

Meltdown War Zone – um what is a meltdown?

Is it just me or does living with ASD and/or ODD start to feel like you are in a war zone. You never know just when a meltdown will begin, is it going to be a small smoke grenade, quickly dissipated, or a megaton nuclear explosion? Either way it is not going to be fun. Oh no, you got the wrong yoghurt? Oh, quick hide – his favourite t-shirt is in the washing machine. Did her sibling dare to look at her? Oh yeah, I bet many a parent has a meltdown story based on something that started out seeming to be safe. And do not dare say a meltdown is just a tantrum, there is a HUGE difference.

So what is a meltdown?

I think of all the explanations I have read, Bec Oakley from Snagglebox explains them in the most effective manner:

Put simply, a meltdown is a state of neurological chaos where the brain and nervous system overheat and stop working properly. It’s called that because it’s the body’s equivalent to a meltdown in a nuclear power plant, in which the fuel in the reactor core becomes so hot that it melts and releases energy.

It is an emotional explosion, and once they start, they can be extremely hard to stop, sometimes you just have to step back and let them run their course. My son had what I now term “Cluster Meltdowns”. He would meltdown, then become calm, and be interacting with other people, and then BAM straight back into the meltdown. No topic change. This pattern could go on for hours. I am often left wondering how we all made it through his early years. It is a miracle I tell you.

Now so many people think that meltdowns are just spoiled children throwing great big attention seeking tantrums, well let me tell you the differences between a tantrum and a meltdown…hmm table format may help here:

To be brutally honest, there is no sure fix for this problem. The best solution here is working out the triggers to a child’s meltdown, and then avoiding those triggers. EVERY CHILD HAS DIFFERENT TRIGGERS and avoiding them is all about trial and error. Eventually you will solve the puzzle of meltdowns (and then puberty hits and all the rules seem to change). My son has a three-day reaction to sulphites, especially 220, but that was not his only trigger. He had sensory triggers as well. Let him watch too any episodes Blue’s Clue’s, Hi-5, any bright coloured TV show or cartoon, and he would have sensory overload. Nick JNR was pretty much a no go with him.

To help your child avoid their meltdowns you will have to pay attention, think back after every meltdown, what did you do? What did they do? What were they watching? What did they eat, touch, smell, etc.?

One day I will try to remember to do a follow up blog on meltdown triggers and possible ways to help your child overcome meltdowns.

Some days I was far from perfect.

WARNING: This blog is one from the heart, therefore it is more me getting things off of my chest rather than providing insight or information.

There were days as a parent where I just cried, everything I was doing was wrong. Why could I not raise well-behaved children, what is wrong with me? These issues occurred before I understood my children. Oh sure I read books on ADHD since people told me my eldest had it (especially his kindergarten teacher who tried to push me to medicate him). With my oldest I knew something was wrong, but after reading book after book on ADHD, I just felt, no ADHD is not the issue because when in a stable environment he is a different child. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I did follow the parenting advice in these books and this was probably why my youngest never caused anyone to come to me and say I think your child has ADHD until he was 14. I knew near nothing about autism, and like most uneducated people, I thought autism equalled not able to function.

I know more now than I did when my children were little. I made some horrid parenting mistakes. I yelled way too much. I smacked. I worked against my children. Once I realise what I was dealing with, though, I did my best to change me and my reactions. I stopped listening to all those people who told me the issue was me, my parenting (I should discipline them more, smack them more blah, blah, blah) or my lack of routine. Hey, I had a routine when my children acted up it was because we were out of routine, visiting someone or had someone visiting or living with us. I put my boys to bed at 7:30 every night, and the damn bedtime shenanigans started. It would be at least 10 pm before they were asleep. Argh, who am I kidding it was more likely 11 pm. Do not get me started on getting them to sleep. That is a whole other post for another day.

In many ways yes, my parenting did cause so many of our issues because I listened to the wrong people. The ones who were saying it was a parenting issue, the ones who judged me. I was heading to worse parent of the century because I felt I had to raise my children to other people‘s stupid expectations. Instead of more discipline, I should just let the meltdown run its course without adding more sensory input to an overloaded mind. Instead of trying to stop the hyper running around (my oldest‘s version of stimming) I should have just let him go outside and get it out of his system without fear of judgement. I think the best thing I ever did for my eldest was get him a Nintendo SP and take it with us on outings. When I saw him getting worked up, I would hand it to him and let him escape to the world of Pokemon or Mario. I did cop a lot of comments over not making him interact with others from a few family members, and I spoke up over that and left him to zone out. As his brother got older, we did the same with him, but we would always have fallout when we got home. ALWAYS. No extended family dinner ever was an easy event for us. There was always a bouncing child and later the fallout that we never actually discussed with family or friends. How do you tell people that your son loses the plot after a large family gathering? We eventually started avoiding these events, not because we do not love our friends and family, but we just could not go. Not one single member of our little family ever got to relax and enjoy it. We spent the time trying to get the boys to conform to other people‘s expectations, which, of course, triggered anxiety for them, and made their behaviour worse. It became easier for us all to say, “no sorry we can not attend your ____.” It was less stress, less upset. We stuck to people who could handle our kids at their worst without telling us to make them behave and that smacking was the best way.

There are always days for any parent when you just want to curl up and cry. For a parent with a child with any disorder, this can be nearly daily. Trying to live up to other peoples expectations. Attempting to be an advocate for your child. Trying to help your child negate the world that does not allow flexibility for anything that is different. These situations will exhaust you. Being defied for the billionth time, or ignored, or hearing the same repeated question, sentence or denialyou do eventually hit your last straw. You do end up yelling, after all we are human, having a child with a disorder does not make you superhuman. We are going to make mistakes; we will beat ourselves up over them often. The thing is we need to learn to reset, to move forward, and to correct our mistakes. If we can learn to do this, then we can help our children learn to do this. Sometimes you have to take each day as a fresh start. Hell, sometimes you learn to live by the hour, and on really extreme days, by the minute. That‘s ok. Step outside during your child‘s meltdown. Play angry birds together when they calm, and rest for the day. Later when you know they are calm, talk about what happened, reflect on their behaviour and yours, say look we made mistakes today (or earlier) what can we learn from that? What can you do differently? What can I do differently? By owning your mistake, you are leading by example. By letting them discuss it you are helping them express themselves. Not all children communicate effectively, but that does not mean we should not let them voice their opinion, in fact, it means the opposite. It means we need to listen to them more. They need to know that they do have a voice in this world and that what they have to say about themselves and how they feel matters.

The biggest thing is to not parent to other people‘s expectations, parent to what your child needs. People are always going to give input and advice. Learn to distinguish the hurtful from the helpful. Learn to listen to only the helpful, and only utilise it if you think it may help, adapt it, store it away for a moment of desperation, whatever works for you and your child. As long as you are not hurting or neglecting your child, no one has the right to tell you that you are parenting wrong because they are not walking in your shoes. They do not know that neither parent nor child has slept more than 8 hours over the last three days. That your child is having a meltdown because you have been school shopping for over an hour and the crowds, lights and sounds have become too much. Sometimes you need to give the mental middle finger to the world and just do what you know works best for your child. And sometimes you do have to give the finger and go “F__ you A___”. After all no-one is perfect 100% all of the time.

What is SPD?

The acronym SPD stands for Sensory Processing Disorder.  SPD Australia states,

SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER (SPD) is a complex neurological condition that impairs the functional skills of 1 in 20 children. People with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound and movement. They may feel overwhelmed by sensory information, may seek out sensory experiences or may avoid certain experiences.

People with SPD experience their world as either Hypersensitive (over reactive, sensory avoidance) or Hyposensitive (under reactive, sensory seeker). They may also present with motor skill problems. They may react with strong emotional behaviours and experience what may be described as ‘melt downs’

(SPD Australia, 2015)

SPD is when an individual’s central nervous system misinterprets input or becomes overwhelmed by the information it receives. The confusion caused by this then causes the individual to become overwhelmed which can result in clumsiness, anxiety, behavioural issues and meltdowns.

A person with SPD may seek out or avoid certain sensory input. Individuals with SPD may have:

Out-of-proportion reactions to touch, sounds, sights, movement, tastes, or smells such as:

  • Bothered by clothing fabrics, labels, tags, etc.
  • Distressed by light touch or unexpected touch
  • Dislikes getting messy
  • Resists grooming activities
  • Very sensitive to sounds (volume or frequency)
  • Squints, blinks, or rubs eyes frequently
  • Bothered by lights or patterns
  • High activity level or very sedentary
  • Unusually high or low pain threshold

Motor skills and body awareness difficulties including:

  • Fine motor delays (holding pencils, closing buttons etc)
  • Gross motor delays (walking, catching balls etc)
  • clumsiness
  • poor handwriting
  • low or high muscle tone
  • Fine motor delays (e.g., crayons, buttons/snaps, beading, scissors)

Oral motor and feeding problems, including:

  • Oral hypersensitivity
  • drooling or gagging
  • “picky eating”
  • Speech and language delays

Poor attention and focus:

  • frequently zones out or acts up

Uncomfortable or easily overstimulated in group settings

Difficulty with self-confidence and independence

(Raising a Sensory Smart Child, n.d.)


Many of these indicators are normally present in toddlers as they are still developing an understanding of the world and building personal preferences. If these reactions are making it so the toddler can not effectively function or are present in an older child, it would be ideal to seek assistance so that the child can learn to live with or overcome these issues. Without assistance the child may develop behavioural problems, struggle at school and start living on a restricted diet.

There are many sensory checklists available online for those seeking confirmation that SPD may be an issue for their child or themselves, such as the ones below:


Too true

Stumbled across this, and it does say what it can be like for an autistic person. Having autism does not make you less than any other person. Autism just means you are different, and therefore, approaches need to be adapted to accommodate your needs. People need to realise you can not force someone to learn, or act the same way as everyone else because that causes an individual damage. Don’t force the square peg into the round hole, instead change the hole to fit the peg.

Square peg-round hole

Signs of Autism

Autism has some clear indicators these are:

  • Issues with language and communication
  • Problems with social interaction
  • Displaying repetitive, ritualistic or obsessive behaviour
  • Resistance to change
  • Sensory difficulties
  • Lack of imaginative play
  • Lack of eye contact

Issues with language and communication
Children with Autism may have delayed speech. They may not start talking until older than a typical child would, or they may have a far more limited vocabulary than what would be expected for their age group. Often autistic children will have trouble comprehending the meaning of a conversation; they may take things said on a literal level. For example, a teenage child that is told to put a clean sheet on his bed, would usually remove the dirty sheet and place a clean sheet on his bed. Whereas the ASD child may take that at on a literal level, and just place a clean sheet over the top of the existing sheet (yes this did happen, not just once, but for 5 weeks in a row). Also children on the spectrum have difficulties interacting when conversing. They usually talk to a person rather than with a person.

Problems with social interaction
Children on the ASD spectrum have trouble establishing and maintaining relationships. Language and communication problems can be the cause of this though the autistic child may also have trouble understanding another individual’s intent or motivation. The autistic child may also have issues reading the reactions and facial expressions of others.

Displaying repetitive, ritualistic or obsessive behaviour
A child on the ASD spectrum may develop behaviour that is repetitive, ritualistic or obsessive. The child may like to touch items in a certain way, this may include placing them to or in the mouth. They may rock or spin, or make repetitive noises. It is not unusual for children on the ASD spectrum to become obsessed with an object, person, place or a topic.

Resistance to change
Autistic children do not react well to change; they like predictability. They prefer a constant routine. They do not like things in their environment to change. They may not like to be introduced to new foods, go to new places or watch new tv shows.

Sensory difficulties
Autistic children may also have Sensory Processing Disorder. They may find certain textures of food or clothing unbearable. They may react to certain sounds. Even the microwave beeping may be too loud for them. They may only wear loose clothing, or maybe only tight clothing. They may wish to have no tags on their clothes. They may not like to touch certain things as they do not like the way they feel. They may react when things are too hot or too cold. They may not like certain smells. While all children have likes and dislikes, for an autistic child some sensory input is just too overwhelming and this may cause eating issues, over stimulation, meltdowns or extreme reactions.

Lack of imaginative play
Some children with autism have trouble with imaginative play. They may imitate other children, acting in the same manner, but never developing past what they are seeing the other children doing. They may play with toys, but again it is usually an imitation of play, or they may just be placing their toys in order. These are signs of repetitive, ritualistic or obsessive behaviour. The photos below are examples children lying up toys or displaying obsessive behaviour (the child with the tower would sit for hours making towers from playing cards and other items).
Toys all lined up (E) Young child lining up his trains and cars.

Toys all lined up (J) Older child lining up army toys. He did not play with them after he set them up.

Tower  A tower made from dice and cards. This child would spend hours making towers from playing cards, this day he added the dice as they were available.

Lack of eye contact
Many autistic children dislike making prolonged eye contact, they may briefly look you in the eyes occasionally but it is not unusual to feel they are looking past you rather than at you. They may also avoid eye contact altogether, and even refuse to look up from what they are doing.

Now every child is an individual, even when on the ASD spectrum, so these indicators will not be the same with every child. They may have some of these indicators, they may have all, but if more than one is present seek a diagnosis. By having a diagnosis, you can access assistance to avoid issues later in life. Most children start showing these indicators around 2 to 3 years of age.


Seeking diagnosis for Autism

Like all neurological disorders, it takes an expert to diagnose Autism, but as many parents find, it can be a long journey. A journey full of doubt and worry. If their child is high functioning the parents will come across many people that will tell them that there is nothing wrong with their child. That maybe it is their parenting that is the issue. They may hear this from family members, friends or teachers, who have not witnessed any unusual behaviour from the child. Due to this many parents step back, rethink and often give up on trying to find help for their child. If you think there is something wrong with your child, stay strong, and keep asking and pushing for help. You are your child‘s advocate, their voice; they need you to be strong and keep going.

To start the diagnosis process approach the school, if the child is struggling at school, ask for a referral to the school psychologist. If the school can not do this, then ask your doctor for a referral to a paediatrician or psychologist

Some things to do when seeking a diagnosis are:

  • Make a list of all behaviours you have witnessed with your child that have you worried
  • Write out when your child reached expected milestones, such as crawling, talking and toilet training, make note of any delays
  • Ask friends to list any behaviours they have witnessed that they thought were not typical for a child of that age group
  • Ask teachers to provide any insight they have on your child and any delays they show within the classroom
  • Video or record any behaviours you think the doctor should witness

Present these to your, doctor, psychologist, paediatrician or CAMHS (Child and Mental Health Services) team.

By doing this, you are providing a clear documentation of your child‘s history which can make things easier for the diagnosing doctor. Since the doctor only sees your child in his office, they do not get to see the child relaxed and in more natural settings, so input from other people may assist in diagnosis.