Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Clinic Notes: Diagnosis and Denial--Denial and Diagnosis the Chicken and Egg of Autism

Everyone will agree that early diagnosis of autism and intense ABA, along with other therapies, is effective. Sometimes it is possible to diagnosis autism as early as 18 month and start intervention. But only half of all autism cases are diagnosed before kindergarten most of these the second and third year when language delays and other symptoms of autism become apparent. Parents can be in denial before and after a diagnosis. Last week a mother brought her three-year old child in to my clinic. She had thought something was wrong since the child was two but dad kept saying the child was just hard headed. Mom took a trip with her friends and left the three year old with dad. When she returned home dad told her to make an appointment because something was wrong. In this case the child was able to get a diagnosis and treatment at an early but often we do not see children for the first time until they are six or seven. The parents knew something was wrong but were in denial. And the parents did not seek services until the school system insisted. And it is not always denial in the parents that prevents a child diagnosed with autism from getting services. More often costs, both in time and money are to blame.

1 comment:

Mel said...

I just came across this blog and found it very informative!
From very early on(before age 6 months)I had a nagging feeling that something was not quite right with my son.Everybody,including my husband and the pediatrition,thought I was being hyper-sensitve in my concerns.It wasn't until my mother(a school teacher) mentioned the word 'Autism' when he was amost 2 years old that anyone took notice.
We contacted our local Early Intervention program who started services,helped us through the the process of getting an official diagnosis and getting ABA services.
He has made so much improvement in just that one year of services.He has been in a PDD classroom in our public school since February of 2006 and is already ready to be intergrated into the regular preschool(at least for part of the day to start with).
I strongly agree that early diagnosis is key and if you have any doubts about your child(even if it is just a nagging feeling like mine was)take action.
The best that can happen is that they tell you your child is fine-the worst is he/she will get the needed services(the earlier the better).