Speech delay, easily upset, low eye contact

sweebyOctober 29, 2007

I recently came across a fabulous resource published on the Internet by AutismSpeaks, a wonderful non-profit group devoted to helping families dealing with Autism.

It's a collection of short video clips comparing typical early childhood behavior with the types of atypical behavior shown by children diagnosed with autism. This resource is aimed at both parents and medical professionsals to help screen children who should be referred for further evaluation. With the incidence of autism spectrum disorders now estimated at 1 per 150 children, (almost 1 in 40 boys!) they recommend that *every child be screened* once at 18 months and again at 24 months for possible autism issues. Early treatment can make a huge difference in a child's outcome, and early treatment is only possible with early diagnosis.

As the mother of a young boy with autism - one who felt early on that everything was just not right - and who was frustrated at every turn trying to get him properly diagnosed - please, please: If you are concerned about your child's development in any way, watch some of these video clips. They're a bit of a pain to access, but very very good. If you know a young child with autism, you'll 'recognize' him in at least one of these clips.

The very first time someone mentioned "possible autistic spectrum" with regard to our son, I visited a school for young autistic children, and was immediately able to spot that we were on the right track. It's not that I'm so insightful - it's that the behavior is so distinctive, once you know what to look for.

If, after watching these videos, you see cause for concern about a child you know or love, please *insist* on an evaluation by a trained professional. Do not let your pediatrician's reluctance to refer or your insurance plan's lack of coverage deter you. It's too important.

Here is a link that might be useful: AutismSpeaks Video Glossary

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Thank you for posting that. The videos are very interesting. Some of the differences were very subtle while others were very obvious. I had heard about the new screening guidelines on the news. I was curious about how much training pediatricians actually have in the screening process or will they refer all the patients to a specialist for screening?

These videos are a really great tool for parents because some of this behavior would be spotted easily by someone who watches the child on a daily basis.

Do they have research on how much of a difference early treatment makes? and at what age do they consider it to be "early treatment"?


    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 11:53AM
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Good questions --

Sadly, the answer to how much training most pediatricians get about autism and other developmental delays is "miniscule" -- If I recall correctly, most medical schools only required one 'Child Development' class for pediatricians, of which perhaps one lecture would generally be about autism and developmental delays.

Generally, it would be the pediatrician that does the screen, and the referral would only take place if the Ped. was alert enough to spot something that didn't look right. Or if the parent insisted and the Ped. wasn't worried about his 'referral rate' with the insurance company.

There is fairly extensive research supporting the effectiveness of early intervention, but I can't quote who and numbers... As to how old is early, age 2 is considered a good time to diagnose, 3 is OK, 4 isn't as good as 3, and 5 or beyond is better than never, but not nearly what it should be. (And alert and well-trained Ped. could have - should have - referred my son before 12 months.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 8:26PM
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i have a 3 and 5 yo with autism, so i know the fustration, we were able to spot it in my 3yo quicker and younger becuase we knew the signs better, we had a tough time though becuase she is pretty easy going for the most part and nobody believed us. it is very fustrating for parents to get the help that they need, parents need to be educated and push their docs to refer them out if they need to.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:43PM
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This is a great story.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carly

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 9:38AM
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Hopefully they will be able to recognize and find a cure soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Autism Study

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:47AM
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