How easy was it to get your child diagnosed with autism? Please share your story at our discussion blog!

How easy was it to get your child diagnosed with autism?

How easy was it to get your child diagnosed with autism?

I think at the outset I should mention that I’m not neutral on the subject of the diagnosis of autism i a young child.  On 1st of September 2009 (yes I can remember without looking it up) my now six year old son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or ASD.

The process of getting our son diagnosed took around six (rather traumatic) months.  The reason it was so fast was two-fold.  One was that a diagnosis would provide our son with access to vitally needed interventions as early as possible.  The second was that the London based service providing the diagnosis felt we would accept it.

As I run a Facebook Page called AutismTalk ( I realise that there is no one” best way” to get and accept an autism diagnosis.  On the AutismTalk  page there are a wide variety of different reactions to an autism diagnosis.  It is this that I want to explore on today’s blog.

In March of 2009 we were informed by our son’s nursery that they though he had a sharp delay in speech development as well as raising concerns over his gross and fine motor skills.  (No he had not been potty trained by that stage).

Once referred to an “Early Years Centre” in South London our case worker was blunt about telling us that speech delay was highly indicative of autism and that early intervention was vital.    Brilliantly, for all of us, she suggested we move him from his old nursery to a band new specialist autism nursery based in a local primary school.  He started there even before receiving his diagnosis.  The team in this nursery (or Resource Base as it is sometimes referred to) included Occupation Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists as well as conventional teachers.  Its objective was, and is, to enable autistic children to enter mainstream schooling.  This our son achieved.  Though the story of his misadventures in mainstream schooling is perhaps for another post!

I would like to pay tribute to the support of all those professionals who helped our son so much.  By seeming him develop, though sometimes, ever so slowly was the way I came to terms with my sons diagnosis.  While tough I realised there was future with a full life for him rather than the long night of pain I’d expected when I first heard the term autism in relation to our son.

So what is the point of this blog?  Apart from, I suppose, the eternal struggle to get ones “thoughts in order”.  Really I’d just like to ignite a conversation with fellow parents and carers of autistic people about both the process of diagnosis and how they came to terms with that diagnosis.  I’d love it if you could use the comments box below to share your thoughts.  You might like to think about some of the following questions?

a)      What actually was your child’s diagnosis?  At what age were they diagnosed?

b)      What process did your child go through to get diagnosed and how long did it take?

c)      How did you react to the diagnosis?  How did your feelings change over time?

d)      And finally what words of advice would you give to somebody who has just been warned that their child may have autism?

Thanks very much in advance.

PS  I did cry on receiving the diagnosis by the way.  Didn’t you?

Spread Autism Awareness with your Prepaid Card

Welcome to a new guest post about raising autism awareness from  Arianna Armstrong!

Autism Awareness
Autism Awareness


All packed for a trip to France. A suitcase filled with outfits destined for immortalization in snapshots by the Eiffel Tower, a carry-on with French translation dictionaries and language guides, and maps to take you from Aast to Zoteux. Then an announcement from the captain of the plane, alerting everyone that your arrival time in Rome is a brief twenty minutes away.

This is how one of my long-ago professors described parenting a child with autism. She said it’s like preparing for a trip to France, only to discover that you’ve unboarded in Italy. No judgments, no crises – just a completely different trip than the one you were expecting.

If you’ve spent months (or years) prepping yourself for one path – or if you were born into the situation – winding up on a different journey is going to take a little getting used to, especially if, to continue the metaphor, everyone in your group speaks anything but Italian.

In terms of autism, let’s stop promoting the long-held belief that autism is something bad – a burden people bear with quiet grace and strength while staring longingly at the pages of other people’s “normal” lives. This April, let’s appreciate that different does not equal wrong. As Matt Young beautifully described in his piece, “Acceptance”: “[we] have recast April as ‘Autism Acceptance Month,’ a time to celebrate the unique, complex, sublime individuals that we are, to accept our strengths and our challenges, our struggles and our triumphs.”

This month, let’s acknowledge that on our individual journeys, we’re frequently surprised about where we end up and are often grateful for the destination. Awareness is important – but let’s begin to move past awareness toward an acceptance of the traits, characteristics and vantage points that make up the individual. An unexpected trip to Italy is just as spectacular as a planned trip to France – if you’re willing to free yourself of preconceived ideas and appreciate everything there is to offer about where you’re headed.

To help further the cause, has launched the Autism Awareness Card. No matter where you’re going, the card is welcome everywhere Visa is accepted. Withdraw funds at thousands of ATMs, conveniently load money with Western Union, PayPal, bank transfers, MoneyPak, direct deposit of wages or federal benefits payments. You can spread the word while enjoying perks like:

• No late fees

• No overdraft fees

• No check cashing fees

• Spending tracking

• Online bill pay

• 24/7/365 live support by phone and web

The Autism Awareness prepaid card offers many of the perks of a credit card, it’s just different – different in a good way. Different in ways you can accept, and appreciate.

Dyslexia and an autistic brother – a girl tells her story

A sibling on the autism spectrum
A sibling on the autism spectrum

As today if the first day of Autism Awareness Month we would like to share a recent video made by a london based girl with dyslexia.  We felt that it was very suitable to mark the occasion because he has a brother who has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder or ASD

Please use the comments box below to tell your story or make any suggestions.

Thanks for watching!

Autism Health FAQ: What Makes Exercise Different for Kids with Autism?


Autism-Exercise-E-book-Sample-Cover-300x292Hello to the readers of PatientTalk, and thank you for reading! This post comes from Seth McNew at Play Through Autism, a resource for kids with autism and their families, to develop better health and fitness habits.  Please like our Facebook page and join our emailing list for an autism exercise e-book. 
The honest answer is that youth fitness has the same end goals across the board:
1.) Give kids the tools, resources, and knowledge to understand their own fitness needs.
2.) Develop healthy life-long habits.
3.) Get kids moving – exercise begets exercise, and sitting begets more sitting.
4.) Finally, keep records of what the child liked and what they excelled at.

Now, if you are the parent of a child with autism, you will understand that the list is easier said than done for your child. That is why exercise is different for kids with autism. While the general population may have team sports, athletic motivations, and natural social play groups, we don’t always have those same amenities and possibilities in the youth population with autism.

This is one reason why the population of kids with autism has a 7% higher rate of obesity than the general population. While the end goals are the same for both sets of kids, the approach needed to get there may be very different. The same goals, as applied to our kids with autism may read something more like this:

1.) Make the learning process easier to provide better understanding.
2.) Use different prompts that promote habit formation, instead of just following commands.
3.) Find the right motivation that will get your child started, and help them to keep going.
4.) Finally, measure progress so that you know where you started, and where to go from that point on.
Sound familiar? That’s Applied Behavioral Analysis, as applied to exercise.

ABA Simplified for Autism Exercise
Applied Behavioral Analysis, ABA, is the practice of using rewards and consequences as behavioral reinforcement to encourage specific actions. ABA therapy goes much more in depth than that, but following basic principles can be important tools when planning exercise routines for children with autism. Here are the basic elements of ABA, as applied to exercise:
1. Making the learning process easier: ABA breaks actions down into basic building blocks and as the child masters a skill or motion, the action is made more difficult.

2. Different and Better Prompts: Physical and verbal prompts can both be used to help the young athlete work through new skills.

Autism-Exercise-PTA-Main-Background3. Finding the Right Motivation: Positive Reinforcement (rewarding good actions, instead of punishing bad actions) is used to encourage activities the young athlete likes that are also beneficial to his or her health.

4. Progress is Measured: Another important step is to measure the progress your child is making in his or her skill level and change the plan according to fitness goals.

5 Exercises for Everyday Fitness

We’ve developed a special, free e-book with 5 examples of appropriate exercises for kids with autism. You can get that instantly here.

Good luck with these exercises and get creative with making the exercises a little more complicated as they become too easy.