Posts Tagged ‘ autism spectrum disorder ’

Top 10 Things to Do After Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

autism awareness ribbonEditor’s Note: The tips in this post were provided by Autism Today (www.AutismToday.com), a resource website for autism that was founded by Karen Simmons, a mom of six kids (two with special needs).  The advice below is aimed at helping parents who are dealing with autism for the first time.

1. Start Local. Find a strong local support system and learn what is available in your area. Reach out to nearby cities if needed.

2. Utilize the Internet. Go to reliable websites with autism resources to educate yourself on programs, services, interventions, therapies, and supports.

3. Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism. A referral from other parents or a reputable autism organization is best.

4. Look Into Special Services. Check for related health services focused on speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy, etc.

5. Reach Out for Help. Make use of specific government agencies and public services that support autism, especially in the early intervention arena.

6. Educate Your Family. Teach relatives, friends, neighbors, and your child’s siblings and peers about autism and share what  your family is going through. Help them be more accepting and to understand the challenges.

7. Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral, and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.

8. Be Involved. Attend conferences focused on educational information and network with other individuals with autism, families, and professionals in the field. You may find lifelong alliances!

9. Take Frequent Breaks. Find and take advantage of  respite for yourselves.  As caregivers, you will need it.

10. Plan for the Future. Autism is a lifelong disorder and is not going to go away, but with proper interventions, it improves over time.  And as long as parents, caregivers, and other supporters have the best mindset, a child they can be guided toward leading a happy, fulfilling life.

More about autism on Parents.com

Image: A puzzle patterned ribbon symoblizing autism awareness via Shutterstock.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Experts: Wide ‘Autism Spectrum’ May Explain Diagnosis Surge
During the briefing for reporters Thursday on the CDC’s latest findings that one in 88 children in the U.S. (one in 54 boys) has a diagnosis of some brain disorder that falls on the “autism spectrum,” there was a polite but revealing dust up. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conceded –in response to a question– that the increase in cases could be the result in changes in the way such disorders are diagnosed.

Recording Catches Teachers Mistreating Special Needs Student
Two Alabama teachers have been put on administrative leave after the mother of a 10-year-old student with cerebral palsy attached an audio recorder to the bottom of his wheelchair and caught them scolding him about drooling, among other things.

Bringing Up an E-Reader
It may take a generation to know for sure whether e-books are better for children than regular books.

Impatient Parents Tend to Bring Up Unruly Toddlers
According to new research, how mothers and fathers react when their children test their limits may have a lasting effect on their development.

‘Cinnamon Challenge,’ Popular with Teens, Proves Risky
It’s a relatively simple dare, but teens are sending themselves to the hospital by attempting the “cinnamon challenge.”

First Divorce Expo in U.S. Aims to ‘Empower’ Attendees
Exhibitors will showcase services to help people dealing with the divorce process.

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Is Autism Being Diagnosed Too Late?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

That’s the question you can’t help but ask when you read the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control about the prevalence of autism. The alarming figure so many of us are familiar with–1 in 110 children have autism–is actually rising. The number is now 1 in 88. (And when you look at the number of boys who are found to have autism, it’s frighteningly higher: 1 in 54.)

The CDC’s data reports that the median (not average) age at which children are diagnosed with autism is 48 months. It’s 53 months for autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder, and 75 months for Asperger disorder. Considering how greatly kids can benefit from early intervention, those ages are worrisome. Our friends at Easter Seals raise concerns: “We are completely missing the mark on early diagnosis, given that autism can be accurately identified at 24 months,” says national director of autism services Patricia Wright, Ph.D., MPH. “We have a lot of work to do in the area of early identification.”

To that end, Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count initiative, with help from CVS Caremark, has launched a free online screening tool that gives all parents of children up to 5 years old access to Brookes Publishing’s Ages & Stages Questionnaires. This tool does not diagnose (that’s important to note), but it allows you to figure out whether your child is developing appropriately and help you pinpoint concerns you may want to discuss with your child’s doctor. It only takes between 10 and 20 minutes for you to answer the questionnaire and you’ll have results emailed to you within two weeks. Please share the link with other parents of the 5-and-under set, and we can help lower that too-old age of diagnosis.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Missouri National Guard Joins Search For Missing Baby Lisa Irwin
Missouri National Guard officials joined the search for a Kansas City baby on Sunday, one day after investigators reportedly found soiled diapers and baby wipes in the area of a vacant home near the missing girl’s residence.

Profanity on TV Linked to Foul-Mouthed Kids
Is TV turning our kids into fountains of four-letter words? Maybe so, says a new study that finds a link between foul-mouthed inner-city children and profanity-ridden shows and video games.

Risk of Autism Is Five Times Higher in Low-Birthweight Babies
Low-birthweight babies are at risk for all sorts of motor and cognitive delays, and researchers have just added autism to the list. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania finds that premature babies weighing less than 4.5 lbs. at birth are five times more likely than babies born at a normal weight to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Pediatric Experts Expand ADHD Guidelines to Include Preschoolers and Older Teens
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschoolers as young as 4. Previous guidelines, issued in 2000 and 2001, focused on children aged 6 to 12, but the new recommendations expand the targeted age group to 4 to 18 to include both preschoolers and older teens.

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Tools for Parents Who Worry About Autism

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

a_autism-1

In our October issue, out any day now, we have a special report by Darshak Sanghavi, M.D., called “Understanding Autism.” In it Dr. Sanghavi, a member of the Parents advisory board, explores what is and isn’t known about autism’s causes, how the condition is identified and diagnosed, and the growing trend among researchers to focus on early intervention to help children with autism succeed.

What many parents of young children will want to know, of course, is how they can tell whether their child might be at risk for autism (note that they do not diagnose). And there are two important tools available to help moms and dads do just that—fairly simple questionnaires that take only a few minutes to complete. As we explain in our story:

Perhaps the most common one is the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), which can be used on children starting at 18 months of age. It consists of two dozen Yes/No questions such as “Does your child ever use his finger to point, to ask for something?” If two or more answers indicate problems, the test usually is considered positive.

A relatively new tool, the Infant-Toddler Checklist, helps determine whether a child from 6 months to 24 months is at risk for autism or a developmental or language delay. Its reliability hasn’t been studied as extensively as other tools. As with M-CHAT, it does not diagnose; it’s meant to help pediatricians decide whether they should refer a child for further evaluation.

Some of the questions might freak out parents needlessly. For example, the M-CHAT asks if a child seems “oversensitive to noise” or wanders “with no purpose,” which are both normal behaviors for many toddlers. But for the purposes of the screening test, it doesn’t count if the action has happened only once or twice — it needs to happen regularly. If you feel uneasy as you answer the questions, try not to panic. But do talk to your pediatrician, who will help determine what you should do next.

Always remember: A positive test doesn’t necessarily mean your child has autism, just as only a fraction of women with a positive mammogram will go on to have an abnormal breast biopsy. “It’s very likely, though, that a child who tests positive has some kind of delay that can benefit from early intervention,” says Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer of Autism Speaks, the country’s largest autism science and advocacy group.


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New Bill Proposes Update to the Combating Autism Act

Friday, May 27th, 2011

autism-speaks-logoThe Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) was introduced in Congress yesterday as an update to the original Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006 which will expire in September 2011. 

Under the CAA, the government authorized $1 billion to be used for research over five years.  The research helped improve methods for autism screening and detection in infants and toddlers; identify genes associated with autism that may help with early detection; and develop standard care guidelines, training, and treatments to deal with autism issues.

Supported by Autism Speaks and a bi-partisan senate, the new bill seeks to extend government funding toward autism research, treatments, and planning  for three more years.

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New Study Estimates Higher Autism Rate in South Korea

Monday, May 9th, 2011

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reports that an estimated 1 in 38 children (with a higher number of girls) in South Korea have autism.  The research was conducted on 55,266 school children (between 7 to 12 years old) in the Ilsan district of Goyang city. 23,234 parents participated in a screening questionnaire that was provided.   About 1,214 children tested positive for autism, but less than one-third were evaluated further and officially diagnosed with autism.

Researchers do not believe that more children have autism in South Korea; instead, the higher number is contributed to longer, in-depth research (though only on children listed in the school system).  The study was compiled from five years of research and was funded by various organizations including Autism Speaks and National Institute of Mental Health. Currently, in America, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 in 110 children have autism.  Most of the data about children with autism are compiled from medical and education records, not from surveys.

The results from this study have encouraged researchers to focus more on global autism research (particularly in India, Mexico, South Africa, and Taiwan) through long-term surveys on children inside and outside of schools.

Read more about the South Korea autism study at New York Times, CNN Health, and Yahoo! News.

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New Checklist May Help Diagnose Autism in Babies

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Doctor Screening BabyBy answering 24 questions, parents and pediatricians now have a better way of determining if a baby is showing symptoms and signs of autism by age 1. 

The Infant-Toddler Checklist was featured as part of a study just published in the Journal of Pediatrics,  ”Detecting, Studying, and Treating Autism Early: The One-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach.”  The checklist assesses babies based on emotion and eye gaze, communication, gestures, sounds, words, understanding, and object use.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego lead the study and created the checklist for pediatricians in the San Diego area to use during babies’ 1-year well-visit checkups.  137 pediatricians participated in the study and used the checklist to screen 10,479 babies. 184 infants who failed the screening were then further evaluated every 6 months until age 3.  The checklist was able to diagnose 75% of the infants with specific problems — 32 infants with autism, 52 with language delays, and 9 with development delays. 

Until now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged autism screening for toddlers 18 to 24 months, though most kids aren’t diagnosed until they’re older. According to ABCNews.com, Geraldine Dawson of Autism Speaks (which co-funded the research) said, “This study is very encouraging in showing that a quick questionnaire given to parents during a well-baby visit has potential for identifying infants at risk for autism, as well as other developmental delays, at 12 months of age.”

Read more about the autism checklist:

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