A pilot study at UC Davis' MIND Institute found that treatment at the earliest age when autism spectrum disorder is detectable -- in infants as young as 6 months old -- significantly reduces symptoms. Children who received treatment improved so that by age 3 most who received the therapy had neither autism nor delay.
Early Diagnosis Leads to Better Outcomes
Did you know that the term "watch and wait" (waiting to see if your child will "grow out of" or "into" certain behaviors) has been well discredited by research? The current opinion of developmental pediatricians today is that early recognition and diagnosis leads to earlier treatment and significantly better outcomes for children.
Parents can easily track their child's developmental progress by taking three very important online questionnaires. These two surveys are, in fact, also used by professionals. By using these tools from infancy, you can be better informed as to your child's progress and be equipped to present issues to your pediatrician as they arise. The links below provide free access to these tools. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Ages & Stages, or the "ASQ-3"
The first is called the "Ages and Stages" questionnaire, and can be used beginning at 1 month of age, all the way to 66 months. You can use "Ages & Stages" to track progress of typically developing children as well as to find areas that could be of concern across several areas of development including communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving, and personal-social skills. If the Ages & Stages questionnaire reveals delays, it is important to bring the information to your pediatrician and to follow up with additional screening.
To take "Ages & Stages": click here
If the "Ages & Stages" questionnaire reveals any areas of concern, it is followed up with the M-CHAT. The M-CHAT takes only 2 minutes and can be used by doctors during well baby check-ups. The M-CHAT is validated for screening toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age, to assess risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). If you answer "NO" to 2-3 questions on the M-CHAT, your child may be considered "at risk" and should be assessed by a specialist.
To take the M-CHAT: click here
If the M-CHAT reveals concerns, your child should be seen by a specialist who may use the "ATEC Tool" to help reveal further details about areas of concern that may have been revealed in the M-CHAT. If a diagnosis is made, the ATEC Tool can be used to provide parents and professionals with a "number" scale from 0-100 for level of concern, across particular areas of development. The ATEC Tool can also be used to track your child's progress once ABA therapy is prescribed for your child and he or she is receiving treatment. Taking the ATEC Tool every 6 months can help give you a picture of treatment effectiveness over time.
To use the ATEC Tool: click here
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