Issues with autism diagnosis and perception

Posted by Ginger, Volunteer Mentor @gingerw, Mar 4, 2020

Here are two articles I received in my inbox this morning. What are your thoughts? Do you feel the same way? Will you be able to use these articles to start meaningful conversations with your family/friends/coworkers?

– 4 Things No One Tells You About Autism https://themighty.com/2020/01/autism-things-no-one-tells-you/

– When I Thought of Autism, I Never Thought of Someone Like Me https://themighty.com/2020/01/autism-undiagnosed-woman/

As an adult diagnosed less than 10 years ago, there were so many things here that resonated with me, and had my head nodding in agreement. In looking back, my strengths in work environments were “classic” traits and has helped me understand why there was so much opposition to me by coworkers.

I look forward to input from this Mayo Connect community, fellow auties and neurotypical people alike!
Ginger

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Autism (ASD) group.

@lisalucier

Hi, @gingerw – will you share more about what points in these two articles about autism resonated with you?

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@lisalucier One of the major points is the sentence "It’s OK to be autistic." Society as a whole places a lot of emphasis on pigeonholing people, often looking down on those who are not in the mainstream [whatever that might be!] I do not wear a sign around my neck advertising the fact I am on the spectrum, but I do not shirk from it. I am who I am, and have finally valued myself enough to not mask [as much] and be honest to my own self/Self.

In the second article, a very accurate fact is made that as a person on the autism spectrum, I process things differently, in almost all aspects. It makes the abilities I do have and work with, more successful. It has helped me understand the "whys" and the reasons for certain reactions I see in myself and others.
Ginger

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My as yet very small granddaughter seems different to me. She will not allow herself to be picked up by anyone except the three family members she sees every day. Is it possible to diagnose autism in someone so small?

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@bubbles1939

My as yet very small granddaughter seems different to me. She will not allow herself to be picked up by anyone except the three family members she sees every day. Is it possible to diagnose autism in someone so small?

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These past 2 1/2 years have been immensely challenging for families as they have navigated the world with Covid. Many parents have kept their circles very small to protect their children, which has affected development of social skills.

All children develop at different rates and in different ways. So a child who tends to be timid or too easily over-stimulated may have a more difficult time adapting to a widening circle of people. This is normal, especially among children from 6 months to 2 years. The fact that the child allows familiar people to pick her up is encouraging.

Rather than try to pick up a reluctant child, a good technique is to sit quietly near her, maybe offering a toy or beginning to read a simple book aloud. If she creeps nearer, make eye contact and follow her lead in engaging, maybe with facial expression or saying her name. Eventually, you may have a little one offering a toy, sitting next to you, engaging. This might take several visits with a very shy child.

If, on the other hand, she refuses to make eye contact or interact even with her 3 familiar adults, there could be cause for concern. Then they should be having her screened for hearing, vision, social development, etc.

But let me offer a different possibility. My daughter and son-in-law, parents of 2 small boys, had very limited in person interaction with their long-time social circle during Covid. This is a group where the parents have known one another for 20+ years, all became first-time parents in their mid-late 30's. This summer they have begun gathering again for day activities and weekend outings. Their boys, ages 3 & 6, often spend the first 20-30 minutes of each gathering hanging on to their parents or sitting on their laps. So do several other kids.

My daughter and son-in-law have been totally relieved to learn that the issues they are having with their kids – delayed socialization, anxiety around unfamiliar people, etc – are common among their friends' kids as well. And that their own feelings of fatigue, anxiety & being overwhelmed are universal among their friends. We as grandparents kept telling them they were doing fine, but there is nothing like being with people going through the same.

Can you tell us a little more about your granddaughter, age family situation, etc?
Sue

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@bubbles1939

My as yet very small granddaughter seems different to me. She will not allow herself to be picked up by anyone except the three family members she sees every day. Is it possible to diagnose autism in someone so small?

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@bubbles1939 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! You ask about signs of autism in a young child.

There can be several factors at play here. How old is your granddaughter now? If she does not have regular social interaction with people other than the three family members she sees everyday, it is possible she is uncomfortable around anyone else, related or not.

From the autism speak website, here is an article you might find enlightening: https://www.autismspeaks.org/signs-autism

I will be interested to hear your thoughts after reading the article!
Ginger

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@sueinmn

These past 2 1/2 years have been immensely challenging for families as they have navigated the world with Covid. Many parents have kept their circles very small to protect their children, which has affected development of social skills.

All children develop at different rates and in different ways. So a child who tends to be timid or too easily over-stimulated may have a more difficult time adapting to a widening circle of people. This is normal, especially among children from 6 months to 2 years. The fact that the child allows familiar people to pick her up is encouraging.

Rather than try to pick up a reluctant child, a good technique is to sit quietly near her, maybe offering a toy or beginning to read a simple book aloud. If she creeps nearer, make eye contact and follow her lead in engaging, maybe with facial expression or saying her name. Eventually, you may have a little one offering a toy, sitting next to you, engaging. This might take several visits with a very shy child.

If, on the other hand, she refuses to make eye contact or interact even with her 3 familiar adults, there could be cause for concern. Then they should be having her screened for hearing, vision, social development, etc.

But let me offer a different possibility. My daughter and son-in-law, parents of 2 small boys, had very limited in person interaction with their long-time social circle during Covid. This is a group where the parents have known one another for 20+ years, all became first-time parents in their mid-late 30's. This summer they have begun gathering again for day activities and weekend outings. Their boys, ages 3 & 6, often spend the first 20-30 minutes of each gathering hanging on to their parents or sitting on their laps. So do several other kids.

My daughter and son-in-law have been totally relieved to learn that the issues they are having with their kids – delayed socialization, anxiety around unfamiliar people, etc – are common among their friends' kids as well. And that their own feelings of fatigue, anxiety & being overwhelmed are universal among their friends. We as grandparents kept telling them they were doing fine, but there is nothing like being with people going through the same.

Can you tell us a little more about your granddaughter, age family situation, etc?
Sue

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Her 43 year old mother was considered high risk and had several problem pregnancies (and a termination previously, if the matters). Her father at 53 perhaps encourages the theory that children of older parents are more susceptible to autism. ? The baby always startled easily but my concern is born of the fact that I have seen her at least once a week, sometimes more, since she was born six months ago. The sitting beside suggestion is a good one and I will certainly try that.

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