Neurodiversity Autism

Understanding Autism in Kids: A Mom's Guide to 20 Frequently Asked Questions

Hello parents! As a mom, I understand that navigating the world of autism can be overwhelming. That's why I've put together this comprehensive FAQ guide to help answer some of the most common questions parents have about kids with autism.

Let's dive in!

1. What is Autism?

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by differences in social communication and behavior. It is a spectrum, meaning each individual with autism is unique, presenting a range of strengths and challenges.

2. How Early Can Autism Be Detected?

Autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months, but it's often identified around the age of 2 or 3. Early intervention is crucial, so if you have concerns, don't hesitate to discuss them with your pediatrician.

3. What are the Early Signs of Autism?

Early signs may include:

  • Avoids making eye contact

  • Fails to respond to their name by the age of 9 months

  • Lacks the display of facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, or surprise by the age of 9 months

  • Does not engage in simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by the age of 12 months

  • Uses minimal or no gestures by the age of 12 months (e.g., does not wave goodbye)

  • Does not share interests with others by the age of 15 months (e.g., does not show you something they like)

  • Does not point to indicate something interesting by the age of 18 months

  • Does not recognize when others are hurt or upset by the age of 24 months

  • Does not observe other children and join them in play by the age of 36 months

  • Does not engage in pretend play, such as pretending to be a teacher or superhero, by the age of 48 months.

You can fin more information on this website: CDC Autism Signs.

4. What Causes Autism?

According to Autism Speaks, it's crucial to understand that there is no single cause of autism. Rather, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to the development of autism.

Autism tends to run in families, with specific gene changes increasing the risk for a child. These changes can be inherited or occur spontaneously in early embryos. Importantly, most of these gene changes don't directly cause autism but elevate the risk.

Environmental factors also play a role, in both increasing and decreasing autism risk in genetically predisposed individuals. Notable risk factors include advanced parent age and pregnancy complications. While taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid has been associated with a decreased risk.

It's crucial to dispel the myth about vaccines causing autism; extensive research has consistently shown that vaccines do not contribute to autism. Ongoing research explores how genetic and environmental factors impact early brain development, intending to develop effective treatments and supports.

4. How Is Autism Diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves a multidisciplinary approach, including observations, interviews, and developmental assessments. A team of professionals, such as psychologists and speech therapists, works together to make an accurate diagnosis.

6. Can Autism Be "Cured"?

Autism is not a disease, and there is no cure. However, early intervention and appropriate support can significantly enhance a child's development and quality of life.

7. Which Therapies Can Help with Autism?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that when you think your child might have autism, it's a good idea to start looking into therapies right away, even before getting an official diagnosis.

Here are some of the popular and proven therapies:

Play Therapy is like a special game time for kids with autism. It helps them get better at talking, playing, and understanding others. Kids can do play therapy for up to 25 hours a week, and it usually shows improvements over two years or more.

Occupational Therapy helps with everyday tasks, like getting dressed or using things. It also helps with school and play activities. It focuses on improving daily tasks, holding things, walking, and understanding the body better.

Speech Therapy helps with talking and understanding others. It uses different methods like talking, signs, or even computers. It aims to achieve better talking, understanding, and enjoying communication and play.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses rewards to teach good behavior and new skills. Caregivers get training to help the person with autism every day. Starting ABA early can lead to big and lasting improvements.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding (Hippotherapy) involves riding a horse with a therapist's help. It's a fun way to do physical therapy and can make kids calmer and better at talking. It is good for kids aged 5 to 16 who want to improve talking and social skills.

8. How Can I Help my Autistic Child with Social Skills?

Teaching and enhancing social skills in autistic children involves not only therapy sessions and professional interventions but also consistent efforts at home by parents and caregivers. Here are simple strategies they can use:

Role-play: Practice expected behavior in different scenarios, like going to school for the first time, through role-playing at home.

Play Games Together: Before playing with others, parents can practice games like kicking a ball, Simon Says, Hide and Seek, or simple board games. This helps teach the importance of rules, and taking turns.

Watch Videos or Observe Others: Address social anxieties by watching videos related to upcoming activities, like a dental visit, to help the child understand and expect what will happen.

Read Social Stories Books / Pages: Integrating social stories into the lives of our autistic kids is a pathway toward understanding and well-being. Beyond just comprehension, these stories contribute to improved behavior and bring joy, acting as bridges to a future where our kids navigate life with resilience, empathy, and a profound sense of connection. Here are 10 Inclusive Social Stories Books for Kids, Exploring Autism

Interaction with Neurotypical Children: Arrange playdates with neurotypical peers to provide children with autism opportunities to learn and practice social skills from their peers.

These approaches, when consistently applied, contribute to the ongoing development of social skills in children with autism.

9. Should I Disclose My Child's Diagnosis?

Disclosure is a personal choice. Sharing the diagnosis with teachers and caregivers can facilitate a more supportive and understanding environment for your child.

Keep in mind that every child is unique, so signs may vary.

The information below is not meant to diagnose or treat. It should not take the place of consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.

DdL Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on

10. How Can I Help My Child Manage Sensory Sensitivities?

Create a sensory-friendly environment by minimizing sensory triggers. Provide sensory tools, like fidget toys, and gradually expose your child to different sensory experiences to build tolerance.

11. What Support Is Available for Parents of Autistic Children?

Joining parent support groups, seeking counseling, and connecting with autism advocacy organizations can provide valuable emotional and practical support.



World Health Organization, Autism

12. What Educational Options Are Suitable for My Autistic Child?

Parents have a wide range of educational options to consider based on their child's unique needs:

Public Schools:

  • Public School Classrooms: Inclusive environments for social interaction.

  • Public School with Resource Room Support: Additional assistance for academic, social, and behavioral needs.

  • Public School with Functional Support: Tailored support for health-related or behavioral needs.

  • Public School with ABA Support Services: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for positive behavioral development.

Private Schools for Children with Autism: Specialized schools with trained staff, smaller classes, and varied support.


  • Homeschooling Alone: Direct involvement and personalized instruction at home.

  • Home-Public School Combination: Blending homeschooling with public school classes for specific skills.

Other Programs:

  • Day Treatment Programs: Specialized programs for severe autism or emotional disturbance, focusing on behavioral, academic, and social skills.

  • Residential Settings: Specialized schools with trained staff, teachers, and nurses, suitable for children with serious behavioral and emotional needs.

13. How Can I Encourage Independence in My Child?

Promote independence through daily routines and tasks. Break tasks into manageable steps, provide visual support, and celebrate small achievements.

14. What Is the Role of Siblings in Supporting an Autistic Child?

Siblings play a crucial role. Encourage open communication, foster empathy, and involve them in their sibling's activities to build a supportive family dynamic.

15. How Can I Prepare My Child for Transitions or Changes in Routine?

Create visual schedules, use social stories, and provide advance notice for changes to help your child prepare and adjust to transitions more smoothly.

16. Is There Hope for a Bright Future for My Autistic Child?

Absolutely. Many individuals with autism lead fulfilling lives. Early intervention, ongoing support, and a positive approach can pave the way for a bright and meaningful future.

Many Autistic individuals have unique talents and interests. Encourage and nurture their passions, whether it's art, music, math, or science.

Throughout history, numerous individuals have been perceived or are believed to have existed somewhere on the autism spectrum. Look at this list of 30 well-known figures.

17. Can Autistic Kids Make Friends?

Absolutely! While social interactions may pose challenges, many kids with autism can develop meaningful friendships. Encourage social skills through structured playdates, social skills groups, and extracurricular activities.

18. What's the Importance of Celebrating Small Achievements?

Celebrating small milestones boosts your child's confidence and motivation. Recognize and praise their efforts, reinforcing a positive mindset.

19. Should I Talk to My Child About Their Autism Diagnosis?

Age-appropriate discussions about autism can empower your child. Frame it positively, emphasizing strengths and uniqueness💗. Encourage questions and maintain an open dialogue.

20. Why use "autistic person" instead of "person with autism"?

The preference for "autistic person" acknowledges and respects the individual's identity, emphasizing that autism is an inherent part of who they are. It prioritizes person-first language, recognizing personhood while embracing neurodiversity.


Parenting a child with autism can be challenging, so it's essential to prioritize self-care. Seek support from family, friends, and support groups. Take breaks when needed, and practice one of these Mood Boosters. Read here.

Have a wonderful day, and keep being the amazing parents that you are! 🌟💕

DdL Mom

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