top of page
  • Writer's pictureErica Livingston

Let’s Talk Autism

I’m sure if you are reading this blog, you probably know some stuff about autism. Perhaps you have a child diagnosed, or feel that maybe they are autistic. Therefore, I’m sure you know the general definition of autism. Autism spectrum disorders describes “early-appearing social communication deficits and repetitive sensory-motor behaviors associated with a strong genetic component as well as other causes” (Lord, Elsabbagh, Baird, & Veenstra-Vanderweele, 2018). But what does that mean?

Autism shows in early childhood. In the United States, it is recommended that pediatricians begin screening for autism by 18 months. However, half do not. As a parent, my son’s pediatrician did give me papers to fill out to see where David stood mentally. The reason this may not be the most effective method is that I would assume my child did certain things, such as kick a ball and jump. The only ones I knew for a fact he did not do is speak. My assumptions led to my child‘s doctor not realizing there was a problem until I knew for sure that something was wrong.

Autism that is diagnosed before the age of 4 means that a child is more likely to receive early, evidence-based treatments. However, the average age of a child diagnosed in the United States is over 4 years old. Children who are diagnosed older are more likely to receive less therapies but more medications (American Psychiatric Association, 2016).

There is no cure for autism because it is not a disease. Autism never goes away. Sometimes medication may be needed for symptoms, but it is not a ”treatment” per say. As David ages, if he needs anti-anxiety medicine, we will get him on that. However, due to his early diagnosis, we have a better chance of helping him succeed later in life, with or without medications.

There are many cases where parents first mention the thought of autism to their child’s doctor, but a child not getting an autism diagnosis for over two years after that initial discussion. This hinders a child’s ability to receive early intervention. Since autism shows itself so early, it can typically be diagnosed by the age of 2 in most children.

What research really lacks today is research of autistic adults and their outlook. The study mentioned about by Lord et al., discusses how the outlook with autism is better than it was fifty years ago, but many autistic adults will never work full-time or live independently. They may appear less autistic if you will, but still struggle. That’s because this is a lifelong disorder. As a parent, I get so furious at the lack of resources and research out there for autistic adults.

Less than 2 percent of all autism funding is directed to the experiments of adulthood and aging. The rest of that funding goes into early intervention. It is infuriating that so little is down to help autistic adults, considering early intervention is such a tiny part of their lives. The studies show that half of autistic adults still struggle with aggression, self harm, and remain unemployed. Paul Shattuck, a professor at Drexel University said, “It’s as though we never really considered the fact that all of these kids would eventually grow up. Even compared to those with other disabilities, kids on the autism spectrum are having much worse long-term outcomes” (Remnick, 2019).

If you haven’t noticed, the rate of autism diagnosis is constantly rising. There is no excuse for there to be such a lack of knowledge and resources for our children when they grow up. After 21, it’s like many places say they’re on their own. My hope is that we millennials push and fight for more for our children. They don’t deserve to lose their services after a certain age, just because of age. Every individual with autism is so different, there should be no set term. Each individual should be able to receive help and services as long as that one particular person needs. Change needs to happen. We need to be the change.

Sources in order of use:

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hey friends! Wanted to jump up here and talk about eating and food habits of our kiddos. It's common knowledge that autistic children tend to be picky eaters. I want to share some insight with y'all.

Hey y'all! I've posted about resolutions before, but felt the need to do so again. As you may have known, I've been on a health journey all of 2022. Many of us go into a new year with a weight loss or

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page