"" The Exhausted Mom: Autism and Early Intervention

June 17, 2012

Autism and Early Intervention

As a teacher, I've been noticing in more recent years a rise in Autism in children.  With the "umbrella" spanning so many different forms of Autism, it's hard to really pinpoint.   Here are some early signs and interventions from Miami Children's Hospital that can be taken if you feel your child may have signs of Autism. 


Autism and Early Intervention
Approximately 1 in every 88 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
As families learn of a child’s diagnosis, they can gain hope from the knowledge that early
identification of affected children can help lessen the impact of this developmental disorder,
and significantly improve the child’s overall quality of life.

“Autism spectrum disorders are a heterogeneous group of complex developmental disorders
that appear within a child’s first three years of life,” explained Dr. Roberto Tuchman, Director of
Autism and Neurodevelopment Program, at the Miami Children’s Hospital Dan Marino
Outpatient Center, which provides early diagnosis and interventions for children with
neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders. “For parents, knowing the
developmental milestones that take place during a baby’s first 18 months of life is crucial, as this
can help with identifying signs of autism or other developmental conditions,” said Dr. Tuchman.

The Early Signs
Parents of autistic children are almost always the first ones to suspect something is “different
about their child. Frequently they have concerns by the time the baby is 2 years old. Treatment
for autism spectrum disorders can be helpful at any age, however, scientific studies have
demonstrated that early intervention can ensure optimal outcomes for children with
developmental disorders.

“There is no medical test to diagnose autism,” said Dr. Tuchman, “that’s why identifying early
symptoms is so helpful in getting children the proper medical attention.” He noted, “Children
with autism often miss major milestones or are delayed in some skills, such as the ability to
follow and react to faces, responding to name, pointing, and sharing their excitement with
others.” Additionally, children with autism often have difficulties with verbal and nonverbal
communication, social interactions and pretend play.

“In certain cases, a child may develop normally before age 1 or 2, then have a slowing or
stagnation in development or even lose his or her language and social skills,” said Dr.
Tuchman. The important point is to seek advice from your pediatrician early if there is any
concern about a child’s development.

Seeking Treatment
Studies show that interventions starting as early as 18 months of age can help improve a child’s
ability to interact appropriately within the environment, and support development of language
and social skills. Parents are encouraged to identify a facility specializing in early recognition and
intervention of autism spectrum disorders. An early comprehensive team approach to autism
spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental conditions can have a positive impact on the
child’s developmental trajectory.

For more information on autism, visit www.mch.com

If you feel that your child is showing signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder, please seek help from your pediatrician.  You are not alone.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing.


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