I am frequently asked to play with my friends' kids, or others will call me and describe their child to me to see if I feel they need to seek additional help. Often times their pediatricians aren't well versed with autism, or they miss signs. And a few pediatricians in the area will actually call me and have me speak with parents who are in denial or who need motivation and hope.
Autism has an effect on the entire family, but as I hope I showcase, it does not have to be a negative. We have all seen the videos posted about showing parents physically restraining their children who are having fits. Now, I'm not saying that's never necessary. I don't know their situation, I'm not there. I can say that I have personally NEVER had to resort to such tactics, and I do not know anyone who has. Autism is not screaming fits all the time. I really hate that a lot of people have this impression.
If you have any suspicion at all that your child may have autism, the FIRST step is to get an evaluation as soon as possible. Early intervention is KEY! It is the make or break in the world of Autism. I had an intuitive feeling early on with Mr. B. At just days old he would lie in his bassinet and stare for hours at a quilt a family friend had made for him. It was a rather busy pattern in white, black, and red colors. At a couple months old, when he was big enough for his infant swing, he would sit in it and stare at the bar going back and forth. I didn't think it was quite normal, but I figured it was amusing to him. After that, he would stare at ceiling fans. Well, a lot of kids will do that, but he would cry when it was turned off. Then he would get in the floor, at 5-6 months old, and spin in circles so hard and so fast that he would make a full rotation and his little knees would never even touch the floor. Looking back, I also realize he never used an open palm when crawling. He used a balled up fist. He would shake his head so hard and so violently I feared shaken baby syndrome. He had a Little Tykes play garden, and he would open and close the gate door on it over and over....and over....and over for hours. He'd do the same to cabinet doors. He never played with toys. he would pace back and forth with his head down staring at the pattern on my mom's couch.