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  1. #1
    Euphoric !
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    Autism checklist?

    I am becoming more and more concerned that one of my daycare kids may have some form of autism. Parents seem to be in denial and I don't feel I am qualified to come right out and say "I think he may have autism". i have raised concerns about his language and comprehension, but it is much more than that and yet I don't know where to begin to explain to them. I have been researching about autism online and came across some Youtube videos of autistic children about the same age as dcb and it was like watching a video of my dcb. None of this is scientific, I realize. I am not a doctor. BUT, I am increasingly concerned and I understand that the earlier it is diagnosed, the more therapy can help. I really feel sort of responsible for sitting here and watching this child displaying almost all of the signs and not being able to do anything other than pushing the parents to get him on the waitlist for speech therapy (which I did...though it took much pushing). I am wondering if any of you know of a good checklist for autism signs...something that I could send out to all of the parents maybe and hope that they take this seriously. Or would any of you actually come right out and state that you think he may have autism?? I am fine caring for him...he is actually very easy compared to most 2 year olds. It is really out of concern for the child that I keep trying to find a way to communicate this to parents, but without making diagnoses I am unqualified to make. Help please!

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  3. #2
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    The speech therapy is a huge step, because an slp will have more experience on the matter and may be able to speak to the parents more directly, or refer them to a dr or diagnostic group specializing in autism.

    I don't know what they have in Ontario, but here we have the ages and stages questionnaire. If you could find something similar, I'd suggest that. It goes through questions on what the child can do (it goes by age, so if you answer 'no' to a lot of them it's a pretty big red flag), that you fill out and have someone score it. They can tell you whether or not the child is behind in any areas (and by how much).

    It can be a pretty big wake-up call for a parent to see, and might give them the kick in the butt needed to get into their pediatrician. You're right... The earlier kids get therapy, the better the outcome!

  4. #3
    Euphoric !
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    I have the Nippising screening tests...I plan to fill it out and give it them soon before their next First Words appointment. My husband thinks I shouldn't in case I offend them, but I almost feel like if I don't I am hiding important facts from them that they may not notice because they only have one child.

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    http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/diagnosis/mchat

    You could also fill out this screener and if you think it's likely that he has it, give it to the parents. I'd avoid throwing the diagnosis out there unless you're fairly certain that's what it is. It's a big bomb to drop unless you're sure. If you aren't so certain, I'd keep pressuring them to take him to the dr, and voice your specific concerns. Hopefully they will take the hint and get him into someone who can figure out what's going on.

  6. #5
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    I had this very difficult conversation with a parent before and it was not easy. I began it something like comparing it to "what if the child had signs of cancer" so for instance imagine if your child had even one sign of having cancer would you take them to see a doctor? Of course they would. What parent wouldn't? Why is Autism any different? Although the little boy in my care only had three signs I feel that it warranted me brining it up. Because what if he did have autism and I said nothing and the parents came back to me (their trusted provider/ teacher of their child) and said "but why didn't you say anything?"
    I would have felt horrible. I brought it up just the one time and left it at that. At least I could go to bed at night knowing that I was a voice for the sweet little boy in my care. Sometimes parents of an only child don't really have any knowledge of ages or stages of any child and really rely on us. You are a huge part of that child's life.......and if you have a concern then you should voice it. Just the same as any health concern.
    But that's just IMO :-)
    You are so great to care and want to help. They are lucky parents to have you as a provider. If anything feel confident in that :-)

  7. #6
    Euphoric !
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    Problem with things like autism and other learning disabilities is that unless it is totally blatant and severe the doctor doesn't usually pick up on it either in the short in out visits parents make for immunizations unless they actually express concern to the doctor.


    To say something directly to the parent if they are in denial usually results in them blaming the caregiver for the issues and think that a move to another home will solve everything so just keeping quiet is in our best interest.

    What about contacting a local autism support program and asking to be sent some information and asking what the process is for a referral and why you are asking. There is a long waiting list for services so the sooner their name is on the list the better. Unfortunately the child I had that I suspected did not get referred until the spring they were starting school because the parents just kept saying he would catch up but by April of that year he was not catching up any more than he had. I didn't give it a name but just said he needs to be assessed or he will not be able to cope in school or words to that effect. Parents of course took it personally, blamed me for making no progress with the child in 2 years of care and moved on to someone else - presumably still in denial. Learned a few years later through another daycare parent that bumped into the family the child was referred for testing by the kindergarten teacher and as a result may be behind forever because of wasted learning/adapting time.

    You say he has an appointment in the Fall over speech. They will identify him as behind and then look for causes and at that time autism will be suspected and investigated so in a sense you have gotten the child help - it just hasn't been done yet.

    In the meantime I would try to get some info on autism and what you can do. Social awareness for sure working on what is appropriate reactions to stuff for one thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnydays View Post
    My husband thinks I shouldn't in case I offend them, but I almost feel like if I don't I am hiding important facts from them that they may not notice because they only have one child.

    If you're sure, tell them. They might be offended yes, but chances are if it's severe enough for it to be obvious, they've got to have seen the signs. Maybe they just needed a piece of paper to explain it to them, or explain that it's not typical of other kids.

  9. #8
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    Yes, I think they must know he is not like other 2.5 year olds...it is quite obvious and becoming more so the older he gets. My neighbour who is a daycare provider can see it too and said she has a hard time believing the parents don't know. I am proceeding cautiously...not using the word autism...but trying to push some of the concerns more now. They think it's just language, but it truly is not. He is so hugely different even from the 20 month olds in my care...I know the parents don't have that comparison and I want to make sure I tell them. If they still don't do anything there is nothing I can do, but I have to know that I did what I could. If they leave my care because of it, so be it. I truly care for this child as he has been with my since he was 9 months old and would hate to lose him, but I can't sit by and do nothing.

  10. #9
    Euphoric !
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    I cannot be sure he has autism of course...I am not qualified to diagnose that. I would not say that to parents. I just want to let them know all of the red flags I see...and there are many many. I was holding onto the fact that he makes eye contact and smiles and interacts with me and others, but after researching more and seeing some videos, this is not uncommon. Everything else fits.

  11. #10
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    One of the reasons it is hard for parents to recognize the symptoms is that a child with autism acts more "normal" around familiar people so what they might do in the home is different than what they might do in a more social setting. They are relying on the parent to show them how to respond rather than it being spontaneous.

    The fact that you have others 20 months and he is now 30 months gives you a good reason to speak to the parents and to bring it up with the I am glad you have looked into getting some help with his speech but have you considered that this is not the only area that he shows delays in. I know it is hard for you to see since you only have him at home with you but here at daycare I see him interacting with children older and younger than him. Gradually as the girls/boys get older it is becoming more obvious that his development is not as balanced in all areas and speech is not the only area he is showing concerns with (note I didn't say the only area I am seeing concerns with - keep it all about the child and as much about you and your observations as distanced as possible).

    Doing the assesement pages might help but you might get further if you start with the he just isn't keeping up to his peers concern as this allows it to be general and friendlier.

    When it comes right down to it you may just have to blurt it out that there are developmental issues here and if they do not do anything about them they are setting their child up for failure for life. Ok so maybe not the way to go.

    Personally I think I would wait till he has the speech assessment in the fall and let the professionals take the first lead. Autism is always suspected when there are speech/communication delays because it is one of the prime signs.

    Then when the family comes back even if it is accusatory then you simply tell them you tried to tell them there were issues and they needed to get him checked out but that since you are not a clinician you are not allowed by law to put a label on a child and can only make the parent aware. What the parent does with the info is up to them and that you are sorry they waited so long in denial before seeking help. And then immediately change the subject and talk about how to help him going forward.

    Music therapy is used with kids with autism a lot because singing is easier than talking, they tend to have an ear for music and music involves practicing the turn taking, give and take, etc.

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