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Registration Number 2016/172076/08      NPO 188-276  PBO 930067734

Autism & Coping

Early Indications of Autism

Often suspect the child might be deaf.

Does not pay attention to people and language, but often responds to favourite sounds such as music.

Does not turn when you come into the room. Seems unaware of sounds in the room etc.

May be extremely "good" babies - seldom cry, are not demanding, seem very content alone. Or very fussy, colicky babies - cry a lot, sleep problems, not easily comforted.

May "hand gaze", look at light through fingers or have other self-stimulatory behaviour.

Often fussy eaters.

Seems to actively avoid looking at people.

Seems to "tune out" a lot. Is not aware of what is happening around him/her.

Wants things to "stay the same". May have difficulty adapting to winter coats or boots. Wants to wear the same clothes. Does not want furniture or toys to be "out of place".

Does not begin to talk or use words in a communicative way at the appropriate age. Fails to develop language or uses echolalic speech without really understanding the meaning of the words.

Often seems to be a perfectionist. Wants everything "just right". If he tries to make something work and it does not, he gets upset and will quit or get angry and will not try the activity again.

Often has "splinter skill" in areas like music or can do puzzles extremely well or has gross motor skills or is very interested in numbers and letters.

May have a high tolerance of pain. May get hurt but not come to an adult for comfort.

Changes in routine are very upsetting. New and unfamiliar situations may be quite difficult.

May not spontaneously imitate play of other children.

May have difficulty applying information from one setting to another.

May experience extreme sensory sensitivity.

Play is often solitary and repetitive. Attached to parents, but rarely shows things or engages parents in play.

Coping and Survival for Parents

You are the expert on your child.

Autistic children are rigid - the adults must be flexible.

Everyone doesn't have to agree on everything - you will see things differently to your spouse, family, friends, and school.

Let others do what they can to help you - ask for what you need from the person who can give it.

Preserve your emotional energy.

If you are at a low point, let things be.

Abandon the idea of the "perfect family" and the "perfect child".

Chronic sleep deprivation is bad - do whatever it takes to get some sleep.

Find another parent with an autistic child to talk to regularly.

Read and get information - join the Autism society for information and support.

Routines are your friends.

Look to your child - see what he likes and can do - start there.

Think ahead before you go out - autistic children have trouble waiting - be willing to go late or leave early, consider taking two cars - prepare your child be using pictures, words, and visual cues.

Music, video tapes, dvd's. Sesame Street and other PBS shows can be good teaching tools, as well as pleasurable to the child, and can also give you a few minutes to yourself.

Consider buying a trampoline and a swing.

Read to your child and make books and cards available to them.

Choose your battles - it is easier to "shape" a behaviour than to eliminate it.

Talk to other kids on their level about their sibling's strengths and weaknesses.

Give your other kids some time away from autism.

Give your other kids some time alone with each parent individually, and with both parents together.

Spend time alone and with your spouse, without the kids.

Accept your own limitations.

Don't let anyone take away your hope.

GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT - everything you do is a deal.

(Compiled by Mary Happle & Ellen Felfarek)

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