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Saturday, 13 April 2013

When Your Child With Autism Is Sick...

Having a sick child sucks.  Watching your little one suffer, act completely different than usual, and not being able to help is heartbreaking.  Couple all of that with Autism and a whole new level of stress and worry is reached.

My child is delayed in speech and communication,  as many of you know.  While her communication is improving and her vocabulary has greatly increased,  she does not have the ability to tell me what is wrong.  Imagine a nearly three year old who is obviously ill or hurt, but cannot express what does not feel well.  No "Mommy my tummy hurts"  or "Earache Mommy" or "Ow, my toe!"  The only indication I have that anything is wrong is what I can observe.  Changes in behavior  lethargy,  fevers, limps,  paleness,  meltdowns,  withdrawals,  decreasing of her already low communication skills...  these are my signs that something is not right.

This is all further complicated by her high pain tolerance.  It takes A LOT to make her feel pain.  When she does cry over hurting herself, it isn't actually because she "hurts."  It's because it made her mad, or surprised her, or scared her.  She is the kind of child who cries for two seconds over bashing her nose on the floor, then runs around and acts normal while its gushing blood (true story!)  Once she had an ear infection with not a single symptom until it affected her balance so much that she couldn't walk.  Are you getting the idea of my dilemma?

Now, add in one more complication.   The AUTISM itself.  Is she not feeling well, is she injured, or is it just the autism?  Is she just having a meltdown, staring off in to space or having a sensory problem courtesy of her normal autism self?  Is she having a regression?  Or is something out of the "ordinary" wrong?  This is one of the hardest things to figure out...  without a visible symptom (think runny nose, cough, fever...  scratch, limp, bump...)  this can be nearly impossible. 

So, I spend a lot of time worrying, as do most other parents when their kiddos are sick or acting strange.  My worrying is just a little more complicated.  (and often involves a trip to the doctor just to ease my mind!)

Any tips, tricks or ideas for this Mommy?  Leave a comment!

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