ML, the youngest child with two older siblings, reached his significant milestones like expected till he reached a year old. When he turned 2.5 however, there were noticeable delays in his development. At 3.8, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Later on, at 6.5, his diagnosis was PDD-NOS Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

Before he was given intervention after the first diagnosis, he exhibited the following behavior:

  • echolalia
  • receptive language at 12 – 15 months
  • expressive language at 9 – 12 months
  • inconsistent eye contact and negative joint attention
  • poor sitting and attention span
  • poor balance and fine motor skills
  • no approach-request skills
  • hyposensitive
  • experiences diarrhea and has foul smelling stool
  • gross motor skills like walking, jumping, swinging, climbing and running have difficulty

The following steps were undertaken for ML by his parents after the first diagnosis:

  1. “Traditional” intervention services: Occupational and Speech Therapy services
  2. Researched about autism and joined support groups
  3. Other intervention methods

In details, the following were the services that ML went through (and is still going through):

Traditional (what are usually being recommended by developmental pediatricians) intervention methods:

Non-traditional intervention methods:

ML these days at 8.8 years old:
  • consistent eye contact
  • initiates social interaction though expressive language skills still need to be focused on
  • has developed a sense of humor
  • currently at grade 2 level but has reading vocabulary at grade 4 level
  • can read and understand Filipino in print and words
  • enjoys playing with playground equipment
  • improved fine and gross motor skills
  • excels academically
  • can play the recorder
  • verbally expresses feelings

Insights from his parents:

  • Health conditions surrounding autism should be dealt with the same as other health conditions
  • Autism is a disorder
  • Autism is a puzzle where understanding the condition is the key to finding the right piece
  • Intervention should be analyzed to be able to know what is appropriate, depending on the age and current developmental level of the child
  • Their family’s journey, “is about empowerment and making a big difference not only to their child ML but the future that lies ahead”
  • Parents and family best know their child and therefore are the best therapists for their children
  • It is never too late to change
  • Advocate for autism so that others will know what this is all about
  • Advocate for a cleaner and safer environment as well as healthier food
  • Be a part of a support group or organization that advocates Autism.

My insight:

As a parent and a special education teacher, it is best for families/parents with children who were diagnosed with special needs (be it autism, any of the learning disabilities and other conditions that require [intensive] intervention therapy services and lifestyle changes) that they do research, talk to doctors, ask questions (list down questions, concerns to be able to address everything), join support groups and advocacy programs to be able to know the effective intervention treatments available and to learn from the members’ experiences of hits and misses, as well as observe what works best for their children.

One more thing: keep a journal of everything that is being done.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 8:37 am and is filed under Autism, behavior modification, Being a (Special Ed) Teacher, Challenge Yourself, Information, Language Development, special education, Teaching Techniques. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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