Every parent worries about their children. You want the best for your kids, so you love, protect and guide them as they explore the world in which they live.
Children often do not know how to express themselves or handle their emotions, so you might consider their efforts to communicate as behavioral problems. However, if consistent patterns arise, you might question whether a neurodevelopmental disorder factors into your son’s or daughter’s actions. If that is the case, you should see what kind of services your school district provides.
How many kids are on the autism spectrum?
In the United States, nearly one out of every 60 children is considered to be on the autism spectrum. Though the disorder affects roughly 25% more boys than girls, it touches families from every socioeconomic, ethnic and racial background.
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often excel intellectually. However, they typically require additional supports at school.
Educational supports that can help children with autism succeed in the classroom
ASD manifests in a variety of ways in a child’s communication, social skills and behavior patterns. Yet, despite a child’s challenges, they have the same legal rights to an education as neurotypical kids.
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with autism should have access to programs that address their needs. To help a student on the spectrum succeed in school, educators can:
- Provide visual prompts
- Use clear communication
- Allow space for sensory behaviors
- Maintain routine and structure in the classroom
As a parent, you can ask for help determining whether your child has autism and get them the assistance they need at school.
Potential indicators of ASD
Autism manifests more severely in some children than others. Therefore, you should try to refrain from jumping to conclusions if you suspect one of your kids has ASD.
You would be wise to request an evaluation if your child:
- Has obsessive interests
- Seems confused by others
- Uses repetitive language
- Struggles with transitions
- Prefers to spend time alone
- Does not look you in the eye
- Shows minimal interest in physical contact
Your pediatrician may screen your children for autism at their well-child visits. Yet, if you have a concern about whether your child might be on the spectrum and could benefit from supports, talk to your doctor about diagnosis and early intervention options.
Knowing what is going on with your child can substantiate your request for services. Moving forward, you can collaborate with your child’s educators to get them the services necessary for their growth and development.