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Diagnosing Autism: One Family's Story (page 2)

Diagnosing Autism: One Family

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Updated on Feb 11, 2008

Means says she got to a point where she was educating her pediatrician about Sensory Processing Disorder, Apraxia and Hypotonia. The fact is that some pediatricians know more about ASD than others, says Fiona Miller, psychologist at the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center, and that's why her center often refers parents to pediatricians with better knowledge of these specific disorders. Miller recommends that parents also stay in the know by becoming familiar with the three main symptoms of ASD (speech problems, repetitive motions or obsessive behaviors, and difficulty with reciprocal social interaction.) If your child does display some of these symptoms, Miller recommends that parents bring it up to their pediatrician and get an appointment at an autism center. “A center can track issues over time, and more information is always better,” Miller says. “The real risk is not catching something early.”

Means says she learned first-hand the importance of early intervention—Robert, who is 4 now, has made incredible gains. He has received speech and occupational therapy, and participates in a swimming program. He also attends a special needs preschool, which Means says gave him the structure and extra assistance he needed.

Means says her family's goal is to enroll him in a regular kindergarten next year, without the help of a special needs program. Robert is closing in on that goal, prompting Means to say that if parents know one thing only about ASD, it should be this: “full recovery is possible through early intervention.”

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