Categories: ASD and DD, Child-focused
[This column was published in the West Springfield Republican on September 29, 2022.]
By Alex Utley, M.S., LABA, BCBA
Almost all of these behaviors are related to verbal and nonverbal communication and involve the way children interact with their parents, siblings, and other children. For this reason, it is important to discuss any social-communication difficulties your child may be experiencing with a pediatrician. However, it is important to remember that there are many possible explanations for your child’s developmental differences.
Signs of ASD in older children might include difficulty making friends, appearing uncomfortable in social interactions, and having difficulty understanding social cues and emotions. Although the presence of these traits may suggest the need for further evaluation, these traits may be present for a variety of other reasons, such as learning to navigate the complex social world of adolescence.
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, consider consulting a service provider, such as your child’s pediatrician or a psychologist. Early assessment and intervention have been shown to be effective in supporting those on the spectrum at home, in school, and in their communities. Parents are often the best advocates for their children in seeking and obtaining services and resources. The National Autism Center at May Institute and other organizations such as the Autism Society of America may provide helpful information and resources to help parents get started.
Alex Utley, M.S., LABA, BCBA, is a postdoctoral Fellow at May Institute who works in the Western Massachusetts Home-based and School Consultation programs.
May Institute is a nonprofit organization that is a national leader in the field of applied behavior analysis, serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and other special needs. Founded more than 65 years ago, we provide a wide range of educational and rehabilitative services across the lifespan. May Institute operates five schools for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities, including one in West Springfield, and our new school in Chicopee, Mass. For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.