Children with high-functioning ASD are often not diagnosed or misdiagnosed because of their verbal and cognitive skills that allow them to carry over daily routine activities, attend events and excel or perform within limits in academics.
They tend to get misunderstood and bullied at school because no one understands why:
They get fixated to a specific subject/interest
They can’t hide their feelings and are straight forward with everyone which might be why they have difficulty making friends.
They’re often diagnosed at a later age when their social skills start to affect their schooling, career and/or social functional abilities. The downside to delaying the diagnosis is that these children do not get the eligibility for intervention services since everyone thinks they have no difficulties and it’s just a matter of character.
On the other hand, it is sometimes very difficult for parents to accept the diagnosis because of the stigma surrounding Autism. I have worked with families who have stopped intervention because their child’s language skills got better. However, the presence of language does not mean Autism is not there anymore. Yes, your child is super smart! And yes, she/he has progressed a lot! And yes, she/he uses advanced language skills BUT following a conversation might seem difficult when she/he wants others to discuss one specific subject, think about the same ideas and want the same things!
Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because it presents with a wide variation of symptoms and experiences. Understanding the specific reality and way in which your child functions is key to improving learning and quality of life.
The diagnosis is not just a label. It is important to help others understand why people with Autism needs to be given time to adjust to changes, accept other people’s opinions, and make friends. In fact, the diagnosis will be THE way to protect them and help them bloom at their own pace!
Parent's support along with the entourage (teachers, therapists, and other caregivers) will help them ultimately face the BIG WORLD!
Gilchrist et al., 2001; Mueller, Schuler, Burton, & Yates, 2003; Tsatsanis, Foley, & Donehower, 2004