Perhaps the most interesting aspect of autism is that no two people diagnosed have the same characteristics or symptoms.
Your child’s playground friend may have autism. You may have a family member with autism. You may work with someone who has autism. With all the varying degrees of autism, you may not recognize it.
“We should respect that we all process life differently,” says Dr. Rosario Montgomery, Psychiatrist at Scott & White Healthcare.
Autism is all around us and growing.
In 2000, between 2 and 20 cases of autism per 10,000 people are reported according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) by The American Psychiatric Association.
Today, 1 in 110 people are diagnosed with autism according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The increase of diagnosis, says Dr. Montgomery, is due to increased studies and better identity of autism.
Dr. Montgomery is passionate about dispelling the myths of autism. Children with autism can and do learn. Children with autism can achieve a higher education. One of the most damaging myths is that there is a cure for autism.
“Today there isn’t a cure for autism but I hope that one day there will be,” Dr. Montgomery says passionately. “These are amazing kids that have a lot to offer.”
Physicians are using screening tools as early as 18-months.
You are your child’s expert
There are practical challenges and demands for evaluations and according to Dr. Montgomery, you–the parents–are the expert(s). If you have concerns about your child’s development you should discuss them with your doctor.
Dr. Montgomery is just one physician dedicated to bringing strength to patients and their families providing solutions to understand living with autism.
With a twinkle in her eye and a radiant smile, “The reward” she says, “is the first smile or breakthrough a child has knowing they did it and helping parents gain confidence. Like each snowflake is unique, so is each child with autism.”