Parents always know when something is different. We know when our child is not feeling well, without even knowing why. We just know…
The reason why it’s important to know when something is different is not always because we are trying to save our child from a tiger on the loose, but rather to help them become more aware of these challenges so they can defend themselves.
How many times have you heard “he’s a boy, they talk later” or “my youngest also didn’t look at me during peekaboo or hide and seek?” Yes, that’s fine, Suzie, but I just know something is different and that knowledge is important to validate and respect.
Similarly to when you know you’re feeling down or need a friend to talk to, your child might not have clear autism signs or what some might refer to as “red flags”, but you know there are things, moments or environments your child is struggling in and THAT’S the reason you need to seek answers.
Here are 3 things you can mention to a pediatrician if you want them to have a better idea of why you feel your child is different from their peers:
Your child communicates differently - this might not mean that they are nonspeaking or nonverbal, but they communicate differently than their sibling did at that age or their peers do at this stage. They might not speak with you, rather at you or they might only speak about one thing, for longer than expected.
Special interests - focusing on one or a few interests for what seems to be excessive. These interests can be something age-appropriate, but the amount of time spent as well as the anxiety when these items or topics are “off the table” is different from that of their friends or siblings.
Routines are needed. You might have to change plans over the weekend as the beach is a no-go due to weather and this can upset your child to the point of a near meltdown, whereas your child’s cousin, who was going to join, has found a different activity to entertain themselves.
There are more signs that you can mention to a pediatrician or just to your partner when you feel your child is different. Just know that your feelings and intuition are usually spot on and you are the true expert. Seek a second opinion and know there are some great support networks out there for you.