As professionals, when diagnosing young children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, it is vital we work as a multi-disciplinary team, so you will likely see many professionals. This may include Educational Psychologist, Dietician, General Practitioner, Occupational Therapist, Paediatrician, Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Speech and Language Therapist and Social worker. Once the evidence is collated, then a diagnosis may be made.
You may be wondering what are some of the early signs of social communication difficulties? Whilst no autistic child is the same and we know Autism is very much a very wide spectrum of abilities and needs there are some autistic spectrum characteristics we do typically see in the early years of childhood. You may wish to think about these areas or presentations to help you prepare for the Speech and Language Therapy appointment.
- Does your child respond to their name?
- Are they fixated with watching their hands?
- Do they have sensory processing difficulties such as bright lights, food textures, or loud noises?
- Are they meeting their milestones or are they delayed?
- Do they flap their arms or legs when excited?
- Have you noticed any rocking back and forth?
- Do they blink excessively or display any facial tics?
- Do they play with a particular sort of toy e.g. spinning toys?
- Have you noticed that they lack interest in toys?
- Have they regressed in their language? Perhaps you’ve noticed they are not using words that they have previously learnt.
- Do they use gestures to communicate their needs? How do they communicate their wants and needs?
- Do they appear to be in their own world?
You are not alone
These questions are by no means exhaustive and there are many more factors to consider. But it is important to trust your instincts as you are the expert on your child and know your child the best. Regardless of whether you see all of the above points or none, do not hesitate to have an assessment if you are concerned as, even if it turns out to be nothing to worry about, there is always at least one or two great pieces of advice I can offer you on the way and you will leave feeling hopeful and empowered. It’s always best to seek early intervention with communication difficulties. This allows strategies and support to be put in place. Never feel alone, always speak out.
Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.