“Life is not linear. When you follow your own true north you create new opportunities, meet different people, have different experiences and create a different life.” -Ken Robinson
Autism usually doesn’t follow typical pediatric development and this is usually why parents are so alarmed at the possibility of an autism diagnosis.
The autistic child is a-typical. They are the minority neurological type which means their way of processing the world falls outside the norm of neurological processing.
Autistic children tend to not develop typically, which is usually how parents are tipped off that their child is autisitc in the first place.
When children fall outside of the standard development time frame of speaking, writing, walking, etc, parents are fearful (unless of course the milestone is met early, in which case their child is a genius). The fear of autism is largely rooted in ignorance and the way many medical professionals describe autism. They say things like “red flags” and “treating autism” and “suspect a neurological disorder” and other such turns of phrase that can scare an uninformed parent witless.
Doctors are usually amazing, but the average pediatrician do not know much about autism save a few hours of (likely) outdated instruction from a textbook unless they have a personal relationship to an autistic person or took time out of their busy life to learn on their own.
Development and growth of a child, especially an autistic one, should not be compared to that of a neurotypical child. But developmental milestones are based on the standard and anything that falls outside of the standard progression is almost always the concern.
I am not a medical doctor, so please do not use this for medical advice. My page is a starting point to get people’s mindset shifted. This exists to help people who care to reframe their thinking about neurodiversity.
This page is to help anyone who knows autistic people but doesn’t know what autism really means. Better questions to ask if your child falls outside typical developmental milestones might be:
Is my child learning?
Are they growing?
What do I know about autism?
Is my child distressed often over things that aren’t a big deal to me? Figure out what you know and why you think what you do!
Usually parents notice sensory differences that prevent a child from interacting with his/her environment, which can prevent growth. And when this happens a parent will say “I don’t understand” but what this usually means is: “I liked this thing when I was their age”, or “other children love this”, or “I was told this is the right way and my kid isn’t falling in line”, or “this isn’t making them happy and it doesn’t make sense”, or “other kids are already doing this but my kid is not”.
The parents who struggle the most with the possibility of an autism diagnosis tend to be the ones who are unwilling to adjust their perspectives.
A struggling parent usually leads to a child that struggles.
An autistic child is a unique individual with their own needs. Figure out what they are. Once you meet their sensory needs and your child is regulated, watch them blossom. Enjoy your child for who they are, not who you imagined they would be.
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