RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- As part of Autism Awareness Month, which is held each April, the Valley Hospital is helping parents understand what they need to know about this increasingly prevalent disorder.
Nationally, there are about 1 in 68 children identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. However, the ADDM estimates that the number is even higher in New Jersey, with 1 in 45 children being diagnosed with an ASD.
"Due to the prevalence of these disorders, it is crucial for parents to know how to recognize the warning signs, seek help if they are worried about their child’s development and understand what interventions are available if their child is diagnosed with an ASD," said Dr. Lisa Nalven, Director of Developmental Pediatrics at The Valley Hospital Kireker Center for Child Development.
According to Dr. Nalven, some warning signs of autism are:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months of age or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by 9 months or thereafter
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
"Your child’s pediatrician will screen for autism at regularly scheduled visits," said Dr. Kireker. "However, if youhave any concerns about signs of autism or any aspect of your child’s development, you should speak with your pediatrician and arrange for additional evaluations."
For more information on the many Autism Services available at the Kireker Center for Child Development, please call 201-447-8151 or click here.
Additionally, Early Intervention of NJ will provide free developmental evaluations and recommendations for interventions for child birth to 3 years by calling 888-653-4463. For children 3 years and older, contact your local school district if you have concerns about your child’s development.