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Fox13, Tampa Bay: Doctor attests to autistic kids being normal; 2 affected sons

April 2, 2024, Fox13, Tampa Bay: It’s Autism Awareness Month

Dr. Randhir Jesudoss with Orlando Health Bayfront Hospital shares insight into Autism.

News anchor: April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

It’s a day to draw attention to the growing need for programs that are designed to support people with autism spectrum disorder.

According to the CDC, that’s a lot of people, about one in 36 children have some form of autism. It’s something we’re more aware of than ever.

And thankfully, we’re getting better at diagnosing and treating it.

Dr. Jesudoss is introduced. He is an expert and the father of two teenage sons with autism.

He was asked what autism is.

He said the CDC has changed autism from a disorder to a condition.

Jesudoss: . . .  It is when somebody has difficulty in social interaction, where there is some language delay, and there is some repetitive behaviors.

These are the three things that people usually see in these kids and adults, but that is not what they are, and what you see is not what they have.

Most have normal cognition, and they have all emotions and everything like a normal person has.

Anchor: Everything that’s going on inside, is just as normal as it should be. And it’s the outward expression of that.

When did you and your wife notice that your sons might have autism spectrum disorder?

How did that manifest itself?

Jesudoss: Both of them, we started noticing them around 18 mouths to 24.

Being physicians ourselves, we were a little apprehensive, and then they were officially diagnosed when we moved to the United States. They were four and two years old. . . .

They have inclusion with their peers in the normal school system and has helped them interact better. . . .

The teachers identified that these boys were not, although they couldn’t speak, but they were able to be instructed in the regular curriculum, and they were able to give the answers as much as a normal child would do.

Anchor: Isn’t that something 20 years ago or so and perhaps still in other countries today, they would say, well this child can’t learn, . . . but it’s not that at all.

The anchor asked Jesudoss what parents should do if they suspect their child has autism.

Jesudoss: The first thing is be screened, and the best connection is your primary pediatrician. Get a referral. There are specialists who deal with these children and adolescents. They are called developmental pediatricians.

And then of course, if there are issues with the neurological system, then you have child neurologists who take care of them. Also if there are any kind of psychiatric issue, then the child psychiatrists will take care of them.

These are the things which are seen in children with autism.  . .

Some of them do have seizures, some of them do have anxiety issues, some of them do have GI issues where I come in to treat them.

Also they do have sleep issues and stuff which can be globally addressed with a specialty called a developmental pediatricians.   

Anchor: And the great news is, on this World Autism Day, that we have come so far in identifying and treating, in recognizing that there’s really no difference from someone who’s on the autism spectrum disorder to anyone else out there. It’s just a matter of addressing things and giving them all the support that we can.

Jesudoss: And communication is the key to all these beautiful children and adults.

Anchor: I love how you said it earlier, how when you came to this beautiful country . . ., you saw the resources that are available to help every child have the full potential and the best life they can. 



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