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Autism is Treatable

The CDC has reported that 1 in 88 of U.S. children has autism, a 78% increase since 2002. This is a call to action for healthcare clinicians to screen and diagnose autism in toddlers as young as 1 ½ to 6 years, when treatment is most effective. Instead of the “wait, see, and pray it’s not true,” there is a program that teaches parents how to stimulate the youngster’s brain and alter autism behavioral symptoms:

  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at
  • Doesn’t respond to his or he name or to the sound of a familiar voice
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate
  • Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up

As children become older, the warning signs and symptoms revolve around impaired social skills, speech and language difficulties, non-verbal communication problems, and inflexible and repetitive behaviors.

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) teaches parents how to use play as a learning tool to reverse the behaviors of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ESDM uses techniques of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other play-based, relationship-based teaching methods in 20 hours of weekly sessions with parents. The study that demonstrated the effectiveness of this behavioral learning approach was published in the October 26, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Do you screen for autism in your very young patients?

Is there an Early Start Denver Model program in your area?