In America today, Autism spectrum disorders are being diagnosed in ever increasing numbers.
Nationally, roughly 1 in 68 children are identified with an autism spectrum disorder -- or ASD -- according to the Center for Disease Control. However, experts estimate that 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's 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 The Valley Hospital Kireker Center for Child Development.
According to Nalven, some of the most fundamental red flags for an ASD are:
- no big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months of age
- no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by 9 months
- 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 Nalven. "However, if you have 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, call 201-447-8151 or click here.