Some parents are aware when something seems unusual with their child’s development. However, some parents may not have concerns until a provider notices potential developmental delays or inconsistencies with their child during a routine appointment. The current recommendation is for children to be screened for autism spectrum disorder during regular doctor visits at the 18 month and 24 month check-up. The average age for the first autism assessment for most children currently falls between ages 3-5.
However, emerging research has suggested that babies can be diagnosed earlier with higher accuracy than previously thought. Research shows that babies as young as 14 months may be reliably screened by a clinician who specializes in autism assessment and treatment, such as a pediatric psychologist. This difference of nearly half to a full year may be critical for early intervention at a time of rapid brain growth. Early intervention, at 15 hours a week, has been shown to raise IQ points, improve expressive and receptive language skills, and enhance motor skills and increase self-care behaviors. The sooner a child receives a diagnosis, the sooner he or she can receive critical interventions.
It can be distressing for parents to not have the answers related to what is going on with their child. If you have concerns about your child’s development and would like to pursue comprehensive and gold-standard autism assessment, please contact Intercommunity Action at 215-478-1330 today!
Early signs of autism in infants:
-Not making eye contact
-Not responding to name
-Not smiling or laughing
-Difficult to engage
-May be “fussy” (harder to calm) or “quiet” babies (not babbling or crying much) compared to their peers
-Ignoring cooing, waving, or clapping
Author: Alexandra Reed, M.S.