According to the Mayo Clinic or “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others.” ASD is now considered a single disorder and includes previous conditions that were considered separate — autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
Signs and symptoms start in infancy or early childhood, and cause delays in areas of development, such as talking or interacting with others.
There are a wide variety of signs and symptoms and some individuals have mild impairments while others are much more severely affected. Every child diagnosed has problems, at least to some degree, in these three areas:
- Communicating verbally and non-verbally
- Relating to others and the world around them
- Thinking and behaving flexibly
The most important thing for parents to do is to monitor their child’s development and make sure they are hitting key social, emotional, and cognitive mile stones. While delays in these areas do not always point to autism it is best to act if you are worried. If you suspect there could be a problem trust your instincts and take action. Early intervention is the best tool to ensure your child develops the proper skills in areas of delay. If you doctor is not giving you the answers you want seek a second opinion or ask for a referral to a specialist.
Below we have complied a list of resources we hope can be helpful to those affected by this disease.
- Support Groups in Chicago and Surrounding Suburbs
- 17 Organizations Every Parent of a Child With Autism Should Know
- Where to Get an Autism Diagnosis
Tips when looking for a doctor or second opinion.
- If possible see a specialist at one of Illinois’s top pediatric hospitals
- Facebook groups such as https://www.facebook.com/AutismMomsSupportGroup/ are a great place to connect with other parents, and get personal recommendations for doctors
- If insurance will not cover a doctor and you are concerned about your quality of care, do what you can to pay out of a pocket for a second opinion.
- Credit Cards
- Call the hospital billing department and ask for financial assistance