Monarch Center for Autism Cleveland Ohio
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Early Intervention

One thing that all experts agree on is that intensive early intervention is the key to helping children with ASD lead happy, rewarding lives. The formative years are the optimal time for teaching basic life skills like language, play, social interaction, self-help and pre-academic skills.

kohhei SmallAlthough parents may have concerns about labeling a toddler as “autistic,” the earlier the diagnosis is made, the earlier interventions can begin. Currently, there are no effective means to prevent autism, no fully effective treatments, and no cure. Research indicates, however, that early intervention in an appropriate educational setting for at least two years during the preschool years can result in significant improvements for many young children with autism spectrum disorders. As soon as autism is diagnosed, early intervention instruction should begin.

The key for parents is to first identify ASD’s early warning signs and seek intervention. These signs include but are not limited to:

  • Making little or no eye contact
  • Insisting on routine and resisting change
  • Laughing or crying for no apparent reason
  • Frequently spinning objects
  • Difficulty socializing and expressing needs
  • Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
  • Irregular gross/fine motor skills
  • Aversion to cuddling
  • Preference to being alone
  • Obsessive attachment to objects
  • Frequent tantrums
  • Non-responsive to verbal cues, yet has normal hearing
  • Noticeable physical over- or extreme under-activity
  • Increased rate of accidental injury and over- or under-sensitivity to pain
  • Prolonged sleep problems
  • Limited variety in food preference
  • More

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children be screened for autism by their family pediatrician twice by the age of 2, at 18 months and again at 24 months. The AAP also recommends that treatment be started when an autism diagnosis is suspected rather than waiting for a formal diagnosis. For a complete list of recommendations, visit www.aap.org 234

 

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