15. Raising a Child With Autism: The Importance of Early Detection and Finding a Support System
In this episode, Nia shares how she discovered her son, Jerry, is autistic. We discuss the signs of autism, the importance of early detection, the challenges and the wins. We also discuss insurance, tips for families who are just discovering their child has autism and planning the future for Jerry and her neurotypical daughter, Joy.
April is National Autism Awareness Month and I want to give a huge thanks to my cousin for sharing her story of love and triumph.
- Nia noticed at the age of one Jerry wasn’t talking, but the doctor said she just needed to read to him more and stop comparing him to other children.
- Jerry was meeting all of the expected milestones except communication and between the ages one and two he started saying thank you.
- After moving from Chicago to Florida he met with another doctor for his two-year wellness visit and she suggested taking him to Early Steps after hearing Nia’s concerns.
- The doctors pointed out that he didn’t sustain eye contact and he played with his toys different.
- By two and a half he had met with a series of professionals and was diagnose with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PPD-NOS)
- Since Jerry was in the early intervention program in Florida, he was eligible to get occupational and speech therapy for free up to age 3.
- At 3 he was able to start school Pre K, but it was scary putting him on the bus knowing he couldn’t communicate in the event something went wrong.
- She was so thankful to have the support of her husband and mom.
- I wouldn’t change it because I love my son. And although I may have had one vision for him in the beginning, what he is and the progress that he makes just makes me more proud of him everyday. – Nia
- Nia discusses what insurance covers. Luckily her husband insurance covers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
- We discuss the importance of early detection.
- Therapy has helped make progress in talking, controlling melt downs, school work, and Jerry now plays at recess and has become more social.
- Nia discusses planning the future for a neurotypical child and a child with autism.
- TIPS from Nia
- If you are just discovering your child has autism know things will get better
- Make sure you find your community/support system
- Read everything you can, but don’t believe everything you read – Nia
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