Many parents have concerns from time to time about their child’s development. Often the first place they turn to is their family doctor. Sometimes, the response is something akin to “don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it”. Although this bit of conventional wisdom is often true, it is not always true.
Parents are the number one experts when it comes to their children, and when your instincts are telling you that something is a concern, there is a good possibility you are right. Sometimes, an early language delay or other delay in social or developmental milestones can be attributed to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is a lifelong condition that affects 1 in 66 Canadian children.
Individuals with Autism form a wide and varied group of individuals, who bring unique and important interests, strengths, and abilities to our community, but who also often require additional support to reach their own highest potential. When a child with Autism is diagnosed early (ideally, before the age of 2 years old), they can have increased opportunity to access early intervention in a timely manner. Unfortunately, many diagnostic and intervention services have extensive wait-lists. Thus, early identification of children at risk is of utmost importance.
Autism Canada has a screening questionnaire you can complete to begin looking at your child’s risk for an Autism Diagnosis. It can be found at: https://autismcanada.org/about-autism/diagnosis/screening-tools/toddler/
Some things parents often tell us they noticed early on include: their child not responding to their name (maybe they suspect a hearing difficulty), their child is slow to acquire language, or even “loses” (or stops using) words they used before, or their child is easily upset by changes in their environment, or loud unexpected noises.
Baby Navigator is a website that offers video guides to what to look for in your child’s early development and is an exceptional resource for parents, caregivers, and professionals: https://babynavigator.com/
Here at the Kanata Psychology and Counselling Centre, we offer diagnostic assessments (including measures such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) for children as young as 15 months of age, as well as intervention services for children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We continue to offer these electronically, via video sessions, during COVID-19 quarantine. Sessions are available immediately. Don’t wait – act early!
Written by Dr. Laura Hanson C.Psych, Clinical Psychologist