Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NAA NY Radio Interview: Early Signs of Autism and Early Intervention

A few members of NAA-NYC were recently interviewed for a radio program scienceontheradio.org. We were asked about early signs of autism. Some early signs of autism are:

-no declarative pointing (which indicates shared attention--"look at that...dog/plane/thing" etc.)
-any verbal or non verbal regression (loss of language or previously acquired skills)
-preoccupation with objects especially: fans and spinning objects, shiny objects (keys etc.)
-lining things up
-no mama/dada
-no language by sixteen months
-not smiling by six months of age
-not babbling, pointing or using other gestures by 12 months
-not answering or responding to their name when called repeatedly almost as if they are deaf yet being super sensitive to other sounds like the firetruck
-poor eye contact

According to a doctor I saw, autism is a puzzle and many typical kids and adults might have a few pieces of the puzzle. For example, many boys might be obsessed with vacuums, but in the presence of a bunch of the other symptoms, this typical interest might suggest the child needs to be evaluated by Early Intervention. So if the child is obsessed with vacuums AND has no language by 16 months AND doesn't respond to their name AND has poor eye contact AND has no declarative pointing, then they might be at risk for having an autism spectrum disorder.

If your child has many of these signs, then you might want to get an evaluation done by Early Intervention (EI) or speak to one of our NAAvigators. According to Medscape: "caregivers rarely express concern that their baby is in a "world of his own" unless something is wrong developmentally" so if you have concerns and your child is exhibiting many of the signs, you should contact EI for an evaluation. Every state has an early intervention program so if you have a child who is under the age of 3 years old who has a delay, you can receive a FREE EVALUATION by the state. You can download New York City Early Intervention Referral Form HERE. Anyone can make a referral--including parents.

1 comment:

sabeeha said...

This write-up is very helpful and I hope this message reaches many more readers. Its text captures nuances that parents can relate to.

I am also hopeful each time the media engages families affected by ASD to raise awareness. It is a partnership that I hope will continue to gain strength.
Sabeeha Rehman