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Let's Talk Babies!

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new recommendations with respect to autism screenings.  In a new report to be released next month in the journal Pediatrics the AAP will discuss new recommendations that children be screened for autism twice before the age of two.  The rate of autism is on the rise in the United States, 1 in 150 children is autistic; early detection and thus early treatment have been found to help families lessen the severity of the disorder.  The new recommendations will allow parents and pediatricians recognize the disorder earlier and start treatment at a much earlier age.

As with any new recommendations the AAP recognizes that this new autism screening recommendation will likely cause people to over react, but the idea is to give parents and pediatricians the information necessary to  recognize potential autism indicators and make accurate diagnoses.

Here are just a few of the things parents can look for in their children that may indicate autism and a need to talk further with their pediatrician:

  • Babies who don’t babble at age 9 months
  • Babies who don’t smile in response to mom and dad’s voice at age 4 months
  • 1 year olds who don’t point to toys

Parents are cautioned not to overreact and assume that just because your child exhibits one or even several of the common indicators of autism that your child automatically is autistic.  The idea is to make sure parents have the knowledge to recognize when further discussion with their pediatrician is warranted and when further screening is likely necessary.  There is a great website that has been set up by two nonprofit organizations, Autism Speaks and First Signs, that contains video clips of children with autism compared to children who are not autistic, it is a great resource.

Parents are their child’s best advocate.  Recommendations like this new one being released by the AAP are designed to open the doors to more discussion between parents and pediatiricians and to make changes to the current way of thinking and acting in order to best help children with autism.  The early it is recognized and the early treatment can start the better it is for the child and the family.

For more information on Autism visit the following websites:

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