Family Magazine

What’s the Rush? Should You Get Your Child Assessed for Autism?

By Sillymummy @silly_mummy

choices series

Question: Should I get my child assessed or would they change/grow out of this/improve with school if I change their diet/?

That feeling that something could be wrong with your child – no matter how much you try to ignore or pretend that they’re OK – is a terribly horrible one. I’m speaking from experience, of course.Yet, the people closer to us differ in their attitude (or understanding, really) towards going to experts who can help determine whether your gut feelings are correct or are just fluffy puppies dressed in wolves costumes.

I say YES, you should get your child assessed

You are the parent. So, because whatever happens next for your child depends on your choices and decisions, I encourage you to stop listening to what other people without authority have to say.

Stop wondering and start finding answers.

Stop planning a 2014 full of fun holidays. Wait, I didn’t mean to say don’t plan a fun 2014. I mean how about you pause all the planning for a few days and instead plan to get your child assessed.

If you truly can’t stop thinking about what you’re thinking about…

Consider getting your child an appointment. Why do I say get them assessed? Well, you are their parent and you want what’s best for them. That should do, I think.

Think about your sweet and cute little child

They are probably already struggling to understand you, their siblings, their environment and the other people you’d like for them to get to know and love.

Results would determine whether your child needs assistance

The assessments would give results to help you understand whether your child needs help to achieve their milestones, and if they do, you can use the results to seek services they’re entitled to. You will then carry that passport that allows you to access services, resources and tools required to help them become the best that they can.

An unaddressed concern is like an untreated wound

An untreated wound gets worse over time and could trigger further issues or complications. The way I see it, waiting too long could mean it’s too late and you’d possibly be left with very little you can do to help your child.

And too late is just that – too late! No going back, no way to make back the time wasted and no way to rewind and ‘catch’ the signs and help your child develop.

In the end, like many others, you’ll possibly regret not taking action early.

But it’s your choice. YOU have to make that decision

There’s no ‘you must’ or ‘you mustn’t’ and definitely no right answer to the question of whether you should get them assessed.

But I think you already knew the answer before you started reading this post.

You knew what you still know now. My view is you have two options: one is to offer your child the chance to live a life as comfortable and normal as possible, and the other is to do nothing other than deny them the opportunity to receive the support required to hopefully help them grow up with friends, be able to attend exams, go out on dates, attend their prom, travel on holidays and have a career.

The fear of the label

Some people who said to me that they regretted waiting blamed it on the fear that their child would be ‘labelled’. They were like me: the ones who had never raised a child with a label before. Yet we all thought having a label would be horrible. The only difference now is: I got my son assessed as soon as I felt that ‘hang on, something is definitely not right!’ They didn’t. They waited. Some waited too long and missed the age limit for getting early intervention. My son got and is still receiving special needs assistance, since 2011.

The parents who left it too long based their decisions on what others thought and what newspapers were saying (the same newspapers they claim cannot be trusted to accurately report on wars and political news). When you think of it, parents will always fear for their children. Fair enough, but we all talk about getting over your fears and anxiety – to let’s say to get out and make friends, go to job interviews, go bungee jumping or fly on a plane.

So why fear the autism label? It’s a tough one because we read a lot about what others go through and how selfish and cruel others can get when they know your child has a disability.

A label is a label and as with every other names in this world, a name is what you make of it. Yes, my child is said to be ‘autistic’ or ‘living on the spectrum’ or a child with autism spectrum disorder, an ‘ASD’ child, but he’s also called a ‘smart boy’, a ‘cute boy’, a boy who ‘knows what he’s doing’, and a very ‘social boy’.

He has become so because of the help he’s been getting. He continues to struggle every day but that’s only a quarter of his day. The other three quarters? He is a ‘normal’ child as many call it, and he is happy and doing things boys his age do, such as climbing, role playing, zooming on his scooter and writing or painting. That’s a lot of happy hours that I look forward to every single day. When he lets us participate and experience his happy moods, it’s like the best moments ever!

And if your gut got it all wrong?

So what if the assessment is negative and you went out of your way to get your child assessed?

To err is human. But worrying about your child and getting it wrong is NOT A MISTAKE. A mistake is double booking the assessment or putting the wrong lunchbox in their bag.

You knew your answer before you came to this site. So I bid you all the best of luck with your little one, whatever your decision.

This post is part of a new series that I’ll be calling ‘What’s the rush?’ where I will share my thoughts on questions parents ask me.

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