Last night I went into Chicago to see a private screening of “Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story”. This one hour film is made by a documentarian (no that is not a 10 year old) whose first son is “autistic-like”.
We see all the ads about autism being a 1 in 150 births factoid. What it seems neuro-experts are uncovering is, within that number, a group that is “autistic-like”. This means a bunch of similar symptoms but aren’t actually autistic. The defining characteristic that separates the autistic group from the autistic-like group is whether or not they have difficulty communicating.
Heck. I have difficulty communicating sometimes. I know. Not the same.
So, here’s what sometimes happens. Kids with SPD or SID (sensory processing disorder or sensory integrative disorder: same thing) are DIAGNOSED with autism in order to get services that are covered by insurance. This happens because SPD is not an official diagnosis in the DSM IV (the doctor’s dictionary of diagnoses). SPD is currently under review to be an included diagnosis in DSM V.
Long explanation for basically this: kids with SPD (like Little Miss) need intensive therapy early in life in order to function at their highest possible level and perhaps overcome SPD. Why? The brains pathways are like wrinkles in clothing… the longer they are kept in place, the harder it is to change them. Auto-pilot.
A good way to evaluate your child for “differentness” is with a developmental therapist. It can be hard for a parent to see these things and the sooner we get our child evaluated the sooner we can help our child, or breathe a sigh of relief.
Here’s a good point of reference: Go see the movie “Babies” (coming out soon) and compare your child with kids from all over the world. You’ll know if yours is “different”.