Autism, or more properly autism spectrum disorder, refers to a closely related set of disorders affecting development. It often affects communication and social abilities, in particular, but it presents differently -- and to different degrees -- in each individual.
Parents in particular need to be aware of autism because the number of autism diagnoses for children has been increasing. In 2000, one in every 150 children was diagnosed with autism; that figure rose by 119.4% in the next decade to one in every 68 children as of 2010. The signs of autism can actually be discerned quite early, with reliable diagnoses made by age 2. Many children with autism appear to be developing normally until between 18 and 24 months, when they either stop gaining new skills or actually lose skills they’ve already learned. If you’re a parent of a young child, here’s a brief overview of what you should be thinking about regarding autism.
Monitoring Children for Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Although awareness of autism is also growing in the medical community, parents are the best people to be watching out for the signs of autism.
Babies and toddlers with autism often don’t make eye contact, don’t smile when they’re smiled at, don’t respond to their own names, don’t follow the path of moving objects, don’t communicate through gestures, don’t make noises to get your attention, don’t initiate cuddling or reach out to be picked up, don’t imitate movements or expressions, and don’t play with others.
Although all children develop at slightly different rates, you should trust your instincts if you feel something is wrong. It’s far better to take your child to the doctor for a professional screening and be wrong than to delay diagnosis and treatment.
If your child does have autism, know that there is support and you have options. You can help your child lead a completely fulfilling life despite the challenges autism will bring.
How are weighted blankets and autism related? One of your options, if you find out that your child does have autism, is to see if a weighted blanket can help him or her manage the sensory processing issues that often come along with autism. These weighted sensory blankets are a comparatively inexpensive way to deal with some behavioral and anxiety issues (they can often be reimbursed through insurance too), so it’s often worth seeing if the benefits of a weighted blanket will help your child cope before turning to medication or other treatment routes. Many parents use weighted blankets to help with autism and the associated symptoms and find it’s a simple, low-risk way to make their and their child’s life just a little easier.
Do you have any other questions about weighted blankets and autism? Join the discussion in the comments.