#6 - What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? What they may not tell you at diagnosis….
While autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges parents with children with autism often learn there is much more to this diagnosis than what is often outlined or discussed. We often say if you have seen one child with autism, you have seen one child with autism… Each person is a unique individual however through my hundreds of thousands of discussions with parents across the world I have found many attributes, and health conditions are much more common than we were led to believe. Whether you have a child newly diagnosed or you are the family member, friend or employer of someone who has a child with autism, I hope the symptoms discussed in this podcast will instill a sense of appreciation and even reverence for what many families who have children with autism endure and encounter.
Many of you can relate to getting a neurotypical three-year-old ready and out the door in time in the mornings to try to make it to work on time, however when they have autism or are an 18-year-old, 180 lb. man child it can significantly complicate the most common occurrences or daily routines. So often family, friends and employers will have no idea of the extensive health conditions, sleepless nights, and tantrums that occur on a regular basis that parents deal with. Many children with autism can often experience a variety of the following symptoms or scenarios:
- Extended periods of not sleeping, sometimes days back to back.
- Night terrors that can last for hours with inconsolable crying.
- Picky eating habits that can at times have the child refuse food for hours and days if not provided a preferred food item.
- Gastrointestinal conditions that result in horrible bouts of painful constipation and diarrhea so acidic it scalds the child’s skin.
- Adverse reactions to chemicals and preservatives frequently used throughout the house
or in foods.
- Seizures that can occur one after another, lasting days.
- Texture sensitivities that can lead to bouts of screaming and the stripping off of all clothing at any given location.
- Eloping in the blink of an eye, running off at any given minute.
- Parents unable to take their child shopping at the grocery or clothing store for fear of a melt down that results in items being grab or thrown.
- The need for the same song or TV show to play over and over and over again. These situations alone can take a parent to their limits when it occurs for hours especially when paired with sleepless nights.
Take a moment to listen to this podcast to learn more about the many health conditions and scenarios families with autism encounter and how you can support them in their journey with patience, understanding and support.