Monday, April 30, 2007

Autism Presents Daily Challenges for Parents

The following excerpt from the Lake Sun article on the daily challenges faced by parents in living with their child's autism illustrates that one of the old problems - parents concerns being brushed aside by doctors and pediatricians - is still occurring and still costing the children involved valuable time when they could be receiving active intervention. For intervention the earlier the better. But this valuable time is squandered when lazy or out of date physicians tell parents they are over reacting - or the old classic - he's a boy he'll grow out of it.

Living with autism presents daily challenges for parents

By Deanna Wheeler/Lake Sun

Published: Monday, April 30, 2007 12:16 AM CDT

TUSCUMBIA - Amanda Phillips knew something was wrong with her son, Owen, when he was 16 months old. Looking back, she describes the symptoms generally. First it was the tip-toe walking, then he flapped his hands and arms a lot, and finally, it was the loss of the few words he did know.

'Looking back now, I can't even pinpoint when he stopped talking. I just remember thinking, 'He's not saying any new words. He's not even really saying the old words,'' she said. 'I brought up autism to his pediatrician because every time I typed in those symptoms in a search engine on the Internet, everything that came up was leading to autism sites.'

The pediatrician brushed off Phillips' concerns as an over-reactive parent, but Owen's symptoms did not improve. By age 2, Owen still was not talking and at 27 months, Amanda got the diagnosis - autism.


'You know, it really wasn't a surprise,' Amanda said. 'You still have that hope that the doctor will tell you he's fine, but I knew. I knew all along.' ... Owen is non-verbal. The few words he once knew, he has never spoken again. About 25-30 percent of children with autism say some words at 12-18 months, but lose them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site.

Another 40 percent of children with autism do not talk at all. Others with autism have relatively good verbal skills. Some may be able to speak, but not form words into meaningful sentences; others may repeat the same phrase over and over again.

Another common problem in autism is social skills. ........



"The pediatrician brushed off Phillips' concerns as an over-reactive parent, but Owen's symptoms did not improve"

I get a little tired of hearing our story told over again and again. I thought these pediatricians were SUPPOSED to be sensitized to the symptoms of regressive autism. With delays in diagnosis and subsequent beauracratic and logistical roadblocks to getting therapies in place, families are losing MONTHS of time...

I have to look into some of the new proposed legislation in the states to see if they indeed address this situation of seeing if we can get kids fast tracked into getting services.

The doctor's not being aware of syptoms, on the other hand, is simply inexcusable. We went through two doctors before the third finally realized what was going on (2004, granted but still). If this is the way they treat someone when directly asked the autism question, imagine how many they're missing otherwise.

Anonymous said...

You should try living in the UK. The support infrastructure for child autism is practically zero, and many parents are sent away from doctor's surgeries with little hope or guidance on how to treat autism!