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Author Topic: Autism in toddlers  (Read 4386 times)

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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 05:01:01 AM »
OP, my older son was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 y/o. He is now 24. My advice: be a friend. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) how many people drift away from you when you have a child with autism. The ones who stick by you are friends for life.

Not that I condemn people who drift away; it's not an easy situation.

Suffice to say that I have LOTS of experience! If you or your friend would like more advice, feel free to PM me.


My little guy is 18 now, ditto on the feel free to PM me...


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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 10:11:21 AM »
My DD, 4, has autism. Offer a shoulder, ask her if she'd mind if you sent her any info you find. Don't just start sending her stuff. There are some good websites and some bad ones. My favorite book is Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, My husband also thinks it's useful for dealing with his employees.

The First Year, Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed Child

Autism Speaks has a free PDF, The First 100 Days Kit.

Be her friend, be understanding if she's frazzled, running late, needs to leave early, etc.


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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 10:27:02 AM »
My friend has just learned that her 2 year old is most likely autistic.  I wasn't at all sure what to say to her when she told me, but I was the one who encouraged her to have him screened. I didn't want to be rude and apologize, but I didn't want to seem dismissive. She was genuinely upset but not surprised.

My question is, what do you say in a situation like this? I want to be supportive and help her in anyway I can. I tried to be sympathetic but the truth is I've never dealt with anything like this and I don't want to say the wrong thing.

There is a general way to act when someone tells you their family member is ill (we offer condolences and support), so what do you say when condolences aren't necessarily the right thing to offer?

Can you just start with asking her how she's doing?  Something like "That's tough news.  How are you doing?  Do you need anything?"

This.  I also like the offer to babysit one or more of the children.  You don't have to do anything special. Offer to take the kids to Wendy's for lunch.  Even 90 minutes is sometimes enough of a break to refresh.  You could offer to take the other two so she can go to appointments with the 2 year old.  You can also offer to take just the 2 year old so she can have a little time with the older siblings, who might start feeling left out because the 2 year old is taking up so much of mom's attention.

Also, there are a lot of good online support groups.  I don't know where I'd be without my MHE support group. I know sometimes online groups seem less personal, but they really do help if, for whatever reason, a "live" group isn't available.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)


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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 11:26:09 AM »
Definitely offer to watch the other two when she has appointments.

Keep inviting her out, or offer to bring dinner and a movie over to her house. Meals might be a huge gift from time to time, especially if they freeze well. You can always offer to entertain them even when she is home so she can get a shower and such without them underfoot.

And, have her call the school system. They can get him into resources even though he's too young for school, and that might make a huger difference, especially if they don't have to resources to get special equipment/aides.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post



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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2013, 12:14:24 PM »
My little boy has special needs as well.  The biggest thing you can do is be her friend.  I haven't personally experienced this, but a lot of the special needs mommys I know have seen friends drift away.  The mom gets caught up in all the things that her child needs, forgetting that she has needs too.  The friends just don't know what to do.  Offer to watch her kids for a bit so she can go shopping by herself, or take a nap.  Encourage her to make time for some self care (coffee with a friend, a hair cut, etc). Simply be willing to listen even if you have no frame of reference for her issues.

Getting a diagnosis, even when you expect it, is tough.  The day we went to the doctor for an official diagnosis, I preemptively took the rest of the day off work and arranged to go to the zoo with my family.  I figured we could either celebrate or distract ourselves with some fun. 

After taking a few days to assimilate the bad news, I was then able to start being more proactive about my child's care.  Getting a "label" opened all kinds of doors for us.  We were able to get into an Early Start program and finally get the therapies my son needed.  I was able to connect with other special needs moms who knew where I was coming from. 

If your friend is in the US, the program she needs to look into is "Early Intervention", sometimes called "Early Start".  There are links to resources in each state here:   In my state, the under-3 set can receive therapy in-home.  This is fabulous when you see five different therapists weekly. 


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Re: Autism in toddlers
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2013, 02:43:50 PM »
OP, I think you're being a fantastic friend.  My 30-year-old godson has moderate autism (Aspberger's).

One thing you will need to realize is that autistic children need routine.  They thrive on it.  At age 2 they may not know how severe his autism is yet.  A lot of his behaviors will become rituals.  For example:  my godson puts his shoes in the closet like this "Right Shoe Left Shoe" rather than the usual "Left Shoe Right Shoe".  The reason?  He always puts his left shoe on first.

For a 2-year-old it may be something like always needing a blue bowl to eat cereal.  It may be very difficult to disrupt his routine to take him out for the day.  Sometimes they need a lot of preparation and reassurance.