Friday, October 14, 2011

red flags...autism

What have you been learning about autism? Share with me!

Did you know there are "absolute indicators" or what are termed "red flags" that indicate a child should to be evaluated for autism? A year ago I remember seeing TV commercials by discussing the Red Flags. I am positive that seeing these commercials helped me to investigate further and then push G's pediatrician for a referral. I thought I'd share them with you today. It is a scary thing, but once I started reading I found out that even though we don't know the cause of autism and there are a multitude of different treatment methods to help with the behavioral and medical symptoms, the one thing we do know is that Early Intervention reduces the lifetime affects and helps children to thrive and be more successful when they begin school. The brain is still in a pliable state up until age 3 I believe and so new neuro pathways can be developed and hurdles overcome easier at that early age. There is NO BENEFIT in waiting it out! ABSOLUTELY NONE! Do not let fear keep you from asking the questions and getting the evaluation. Family and friends need to be willing to look out for children too and help parents to see concerns if they are warranted. Another reason for not waiting is that the federal and state governments provide funding for services for children under 3 who show signs of developmental delays. These services are what Gavin has been receiving for almost 9 months now. They can be for infants/toddlers under age 3 who have speech delay, physical gross motor delays, food/eating problems, hearing/vision problems. Any developmental delays, not just autism. What a resource! Too many children miss out on these services and once they are 3, they do not qualify for them. Yes, there are services after 3, but not as intense or easily accessible.

Here are the "Red Flags":

  • 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 or thereafter
  • 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 two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

source: click here For more specific signs/symptoms of autism, visit and go here.

Post Edit: FYI As a parent you can self-refer your child to receive an evaluation for developmental delays/services. All you have to do is call your Regional Center. For Northern California its Far Northern Regional Center. You have to be the advocate for your child because too many doctors are still promoting a Wait-and-See Approach which is robbing children of time and resources! If you insist with your pediatrician most likely they will refer.

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