Sorry for the delay... yesterday I was in the car for 14 hours... I arrived at my house at 1 AM and my internet did not work... then today was busy with a fundraiser.  I'm just now catching up on my blogging from yesterday.
We subscribe to Parenting magazine.  It's a pretty good magazine with a variety of topics for a variety of ages (however, it's main focus is pre-school through 2nd grade, I'd say).  I tend to get behind in my reading and so I'm not sure which month this mini-article came from, but rest assured that it was this year - 2011.  :o)

It was a small article, but it caught my eye.  The concern was Autism.  It gave a brief description and then gave some warning signals for kids ages 2 months - 18 months.  I was so excited to see information being published where the general public might see it!  The earlier we can get kids diagnosed, the earlier we can get them into therapy, and the better their chances are to truly understand social rules and be able to function with their typically developing peers.

What is Autism?  I'm sure you've seen the name or seen the stickers/magnets out there to promote Autism research. But, do you really know what Autism is?  Autism is a developmental disorder that affect's the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.  The child/adult affected with Autism has difficulty with following "typical" social rules (i.e. making eye contact while speaking, maintaining one topic in a conversation, taking turns in a conversation, etc).  Their struggle with communication skills and language only compounds the issue.  Although there are many theories, no one cause has been identified.   

What is Asperger Syndrome?  Kids/adults with Asperger Syndrome are typically referred to as people with "high functioning Autism".  Asperger Syndrome is like Autism, but they typically have normal language development.

The article states the following "warning signals"
  • By 2-3 months, your baby isn't making frequent eye contact
  • By 3 months, he isn't smiling at you
  • By 6 months, he doesn't laugh
  • By around 8 months, he isn't following your gaze when you look away from him
  • By 9 months, he hasn't begun to babble
  • By 1 year, he isn't consistently turning to you when you call his name
  • By 1 year, he hasn't begun to wave bye-bye
  • By 12-14 months, he hasn't said a single word
  • By 18 months he doesn't play "pretend"

What should you do if you think your child might have Autism?  First, I'm sure you'll want to cry and worry and worry and cry.  However, try to remain calm.  Contact your pediatrician and make an appointment to talk about your concerns.  He/she may be able to give you more information.  You can also ask for a referral to a: developmental pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, child psychologist, or child psychiatrist.  These professionals can give an official diagnosis for Autism.  There are no tests for Autism and so the diagnosis is based off of parent reports, non-medical tests, and observations.  You can also ask about therapy that would be appropriate for you child: occupational therapy, physical therapy, and/or speech therapy are the most common for kids with Autism.

For more information, check out:

If the first linguisystems link requires you to create a login, click here for the same information (saved to my computer).

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