LUBBOCK, Texas — According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every 54 children is diagnosed with autism. Parents and experts said it’s important to be educated and be aware of the signs of autism.
Sheri Dyer said she started noticing that her son was non-verbal shortly before he turned two and was diagnosed with autism around the same time.
“He was not able to speak, he was not able to communicate,” said Dyer. “He could say milk, over and over again and I would get him a glass of milk or get him a sippy (cup). It wouldn’t be what he would want and he would cry.”
Dyer said it’s ‘tough’ going out in public spaces because the family receives ‘snickers and stares’ for behaviors that her son makes.
“You know my son likes to flap his arms sometimes. Sometimes he’s very vocal in public spaces,” said Dyer. “The stares could be warranted, but often times it’s the rude comments [like] ‘Learn to control your child.'”
Dyer said she understands sometimes that people are alarmed but said people should learn to be accepting of others.
“I think one of the biggest things you can do with autism awareness is be tolerant,” said Dyer. “The best thing you can do is, if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it.”
Janice Magness, interim co-director at Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, said being able to spot indicators of autism early on is key.
“Some of those behaviors might be a two-year-old that won’t answer to his name or won’t socialize with people at his birthday party, or stays in his room and lines his toys a certain way,” said Magness. “Sometimes children with autism don’t talk until later in life.”
Jeremy Daniel, Chief Operations Officer at Lubbock Autism Academy Caprock Behavioral Solutions, said the best thing to do is to go to a professional to get tested for autism.
“There is no biological test for all of this, where you can go get a blood or a DNA test and say ‘Yup that’s Autism,'” said Daniel. “Your pediatrician or your psychologist will do a battery of assessments that actually gives them a scale of scores that they use.”