Early intervention is the key to progress
From our friends at the Newaygo County Autism Community:
The CDC reports that 1 in 44 children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2022. A new case is diagnosed every 20 minutes! That’s a 178% increase since 2000. ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability in the world. It’s known as a spectrum disorder because there’s a wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the sooner a child gets help, the greater their chance for learning and progress. At the ages of 2 and 3 a young child’s brain is still forming, meaning it’s more “plastic” or changeable than at older ages. Therefore, treatment has a better chance of being effective. Early intervention gives the best start possible and maximizes the chances a child will achieve his/her full potential.
The American Academy of Pediatric guidelines suggest screening all children for developmental disabilities at ages 9, 18 and 30 months. All children should be screened specifically for ASD at 18 and 24 months.
According to the CDC, autism is detectable as early as 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional is considered very reliable.
Signs of ASD
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition states that a child have persistent deficits in each of the following areas:
What do signs of ASD look like?
Social communication and interactions skills
There are no medical tests such as blood work or brain scans for diagnosing ASD, nor is there a single behavioral or communication test. There are, however, several free online tools to keep track of developmental milestones and help gauge if a child is displaying enough symptoms to pursue further evaluation. Neither is a substitute for diagnosis by a professional. Rather, they may serve as a starting point to discuss your concerns with your child’s health care provider and/or other professionals.
Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R)
This list of questions can be found on the Autism Speaks website. https://www.autismspeaks.org It is a series of 20 questions about a child’s behavior and is intended for toddlers aged 16-24 months. The results will indicate if further evaluation may be needed and may serve as a way to discuss concerns with the child’s health care provider.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a Milestone Tracker app at their website https://www.cdc.gov or it may be found at the App Store or Google Play. It helps track a child’s development from 2 months to 5 years and includes easy to use checklists, tips for encouraging development and what to do about developmental concerns. It also allows users to keep track of doctor appointments and will summarize milestones to share with health care providers or other professionals. *Note: The CDC does not use or share any personal information that can be used to identify you or your child.
Autism Society of America https://autismsociety.org
Autism Speaks https://www.autismspeaks.org
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Newaygo County Community Mental Health
https://www.newaygocmh.org PH: 689-7330
Early On https:www.ncresa.org PH: 924-8817
Newaygo County Autism Community
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