Did you know that April is Autism Awareness month? As increasing numbers of children are diagnosed with autism each year, the need to improve awareness grows. Since early intervention can make a significant difference in a child on the autistic spectrum’s development, learning to identify the early signs and “red flags” of autism is essential for every parent. Here are some things to look out for in early development:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
For a more thorough screening, take a look at the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™). The M-CHAT-R is a screening tool for children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age, and the M-CHAT-R is one of the AAP’s recommended tools.
If you think there is a possibility that your child may be on the autistic spectrum or having any other issues with their development, schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. Remember: Early intervention counts! The choices you make today could help improve your child’s life down the road.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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