Hi everyone. I am new here, last week, my 22-month-old son has been diagnosed autism, the psychologist told us he doesn't know yet if he is asperger, atypical, etc. By now he said his intelligence seems not affected. How did you knew your kid had mild or severe Autism? I think my son doesn't have many symptoms. Still I accept the fact he has autism. Here I write a couple of the symptoms my son has at the moment.
Sorry for my bad English, it’s been a long time I don’t speak it or write it, and sorry for the long post. I hope someone could tell me how can I know what kind of autism has my son, or if I should wait a little bit more…
Thanks in advance!
Don't think of it in terms of mild or severe.
- Different autistic people have different strengths, weaknesses and unique presentations. Is a child that struggles with light and sound sensitivity more 'severely' autistic than one that lines things up and enjoys sorting through his/her extensive collections of objects? No, they're just different. Your son's traits and presentation will be unique to him, and so the focus should be on what he needs at any given time and not where he compares to other people.
- Autistic traits can change and develop over time, as well as in certain situations, making it extremely difficult to put a label on anything. He might seem mildly autistic when he's at home, in a safe space and with people that understand and meet his needs, but seem severely autistic when he has a meltdown at a family fun day because of the crowds. One boy might be non-verbal at 6 years old, and at 30 run his own successful tech company. Still the same person, still the same autism. Time and situation will change everything, and at different stages in his life your son might seem more or less severely autistic, but ultimately it's all always wrapped up in the package that is him.
- What's going on inside may not always match what you see outside. He might seem not to be struggling, when he's struggling enormously. His coping mechanisms may mask what he's actually going through. Meanwhile, at times when he seems 'more autistic', he may actually be considering himself to be doing quite well.
- As Trainspotter says, a label isn't necessarily just inaccurate. It's also potentially very damaging. Mild autism says that people should be able to live independently, shouldn't be struggling as much as they are. Perhaps mild autism says that people should be geeky, not that they should actually be struggling. Meanwhile, severe autism can imply a lack of understanding, awareness, intelligence, ability. It's the severe autism label that gets non-verbal autistic individuals spoken about when they're standing in the room, or has a mentally capable 20 year old non-verbal adult listening to nursery rhymes on repeat because that's all someone thinks they're capable of, and nobody's given them a method of communication that allows them to ask for it to stop.
Your son doesn't have mild or severe autism. He has autism. His autism. Something that you'll need to learn about alongside him. Ultimately, you can't know what's coming - and even when you think you've got it worked out, it could all change again suddenly. So don't focus on the label, but on him - you've created a wonderful list of what he enjoys, what he's like, what he does do and what he doesn't do. That's the important bit.