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What it’s Like to Have a Child with Down Syndrome and Autism: Video

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
04/11/17  3:03 PM PST

Ben has Down syndrome and autism. In this video, his mom shares how this affects one of his favorite daily pastimes — playing with cars.

Down syndrome and autism can be challenging conditions by themselves. A child with both can be difficult to manage, especially if the right supports and therapies are not in place. This dual diagnosis may be a complex one to recognize and treat and these children are often misunderstood. Knowing that your child with Down syndrome is also on the spectrum can help you understand him and his world a little better.

Tips for Recognizing Autism in a Child with Down Syndrome:

  1. Keep an open mind. If your child does have autism, getting the diagnosis will open the door to much-needed therapies.
  2. Expect the unexpected. Your child may act differently than other kids with autism. If you expect the typical, you may miss something that could help with the diagnosis.
  3. It’s never too late. Early diagnosis and intervention are important for autism but it’s never too late for an evaluation.
  4. Know the signs. Being aware of some of the behaviors common to autism will ensure that your child is evaluated as soon as possible. Some of them include:
    1. Repetitive actions, such as hand flapping
    2. Obsession with staring at particular objects
    3. Extreme food habits, such as refusing foods
    4. Problems understanding language and gestures
    5. Problems speaking or repeating words or phrases

down syndrome and autism

 

More Resources on Down Syndrome and Autism:

National Association for Down Syndrome: Down Syndrome and Autism

The Autism Site Blog: Living with Down Syndrome and Autism

Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area: Down Syndrome and Autism Alliance

 

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