By: Frank Kou MSed, BCBA, NYS LBA
In an ideal world, every child would grow up to be strong, healthy, and well adjusted. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 59 children has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research has shown that early autism detection and prevention can benefit both children with ASD and their parents.
For the child with ASD, receiving early intervention can improve a child’s overall development by gaining essential social skills in order to react better in society, thus having the potential for a better life. For parents with children with ASD, early intervention may help parental relationships with their children especially through challenging behaviors and situations. In addition, early intervention may provide the parents the ability to prepare themselves both physically and mentally for the journey ahead.
During the child’s lifetime, vigilant parents can be on the look out for signs or red flags that may suggest that something may be wrong, and they should seek professional help depending on the child’s developmental stage.
For infants (0 months to 11 months), red flags may include:
- Few or no smiles
- Limited to no eye contact
- Little or no back-and-forth interaction of sounds, smiles, or any other type of facial expressions
For toddlers (12 months to 36 months), red flags may include:
- Limited to no babbling
- Little or no back-and-forth gestures which may include pointing, waving, reaching
- Limited or no response to name
- Very few or no words
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases that are not imitated or repeated
For child (3 years old and older):
- Delayed language development
- Loss of previously acquired speech or social skills
- Persistent preference to being alone
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Difficulty in understanding other people’s feelings
- Constant repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistant to minor changes in routines or surroundings
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, spinning, rocking, etc)
- Limited, restrictive interests
- Intense and/or unusual reactions towards the senses (textures, sounds, smells, tastes, lights and/or colors)
- Short attention span
- Causing self injury
- Unusual eating and/or sleeping habits
Currently there is no cure for autism, and prevention is a debatable topic among different groups of people. The best course of action to take is to do things that will benefit the child such as having pregnant mothers eat healthy diets, get plenty of exercise and rest, and avoid harmful chemicals and/or substances.
For the child, have regularly scheduled check-ups, proper diet and exercise, and if there is a risk “red flag” detected, seek help immediately instead of having a “wait and see” attitude.
For more information or to discuss how Attentive Behavior Care can help your child, contact us today.