US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the latest statistics show 1 in 50 US kids now has autism.
Fifteen years ago, 1 in 10,000 kids had autism. Ten years ago it was 1 in 1,000, then 1 in 150, 1 in 88 and now 1 in 50. This means there is one child with autism on just about every school bus (one school bus holds about 50 children).
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).
Learn the Signs. Act Early.
Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have delays. During developmental screening the doctor might ask the parent some questions or talk and play with the child during an exam to see how she learns, speaks, behaves, and moves.
If the doctor sees any signs of a problem, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is needed.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation
The second step of diagnosis is a comprehensive evaluation. This thorough review may include looking at the child’s behavior and development and interviewing the parents. It may also include a hearing and vision screening, genetic testing, neurological testing, and other medical testing.
In some cases, the primary care doctor might choose to refer the child and family to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. Specialists who can do this type of evaluation include:
•Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
•Child Neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
•Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who know about the human mind)