Early Intervention and Milestone Moments With Autism
All children meet milestones and accomplish goals at a differing rate. We know that there's a chart to marker developmental milestones to make sure each is on the 'right' track, as explained in detail here. As a mother of a child who has special needs and is on the autism spectrum, I have found myself fretting over these markers many times as the years passed.
After the initial shock of reality after diagnosis was overcome, I always seemed to find myself dismayed during certain milestones: usually at a friend's child's birthday, or at holidays when the family gathered. It was difficult not to compare. For me, it caused overwhelming emotions, and honestly took everything I had not to just burst into tears.
I buried myself in research and knew that I could not go this path alone. So as the doctors explained, I asked what more could be done. Here's a great link to help you begin http://myasdf.org/site/media-center/articles/early-intervention-makes-a-huge-difference-for-autistic-children/
Autism Early Intervention and Options
Early intervention is key to providing long-lasting benefits. We began occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy as early as 10 months. It was when I started seeing my daughter begin to reach those milestones, already achieved by her peers, did it just click.
These are her own milestones! She just picked her head up higher and stood up straight because of physical therapy, she just picked up that cheerio since learning fine motor skills, she just babbled a sound because of speech/sensory therapy. Hip hip hooray! What a joyous moment each one has been. Nothing is taken for granted.
This article from Autism Speaks shares a plethora of information about what to look for, how to tackle what needs to be done, and where to find help.
If your state has a Medwaiver program, respite care, or continued services most likely there's a waiting list. Find out, and add your child to that list as soon as possible.
You may find that your child does well mainstreamed in a public school, but research exceptional education schools in your area. It may be a better fit. Also, see this article by eMaxHealth's Deborah Mitchel about the best time to start Autism treatment.
Remember, your child's milestones may differ, but they offer up such sweet rewards. I remember the first time my daughter said 'I love you mommy', and it was the sweetest sound I will ever hear. Celebrate your child for who they are, and what they are accomplishing. Once a diagnosis is found there is no right or wrong chart. Create their own chart along the way.
Decisions do not come easily to them, which is even more of a reason to do a happy dance. Keep the faith. They will get there when they're meant to.