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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

African-American Children Diagnosed Later For Autism; Reviewing Signs and Symptoms Of Autism in Babies and Toddlers; What Words Should Every Child Know By Age 2?; Advocates For Special Education Disappointed in President's Proposed Budget; Dan Marino Foundation News

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Scott Hamilton

African-American Children Diagnosed Later For Autism

Martell Teasley, associate professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University, reported recently that African-American children are usually diagnosed later for autism than white children.  It appears the lack of access to timely health care is among one of the reasons for the delay in treatment. In addition, because of social stigma issues, Teasley reported some Black families might be resistant or reluctant to accept a diagnosis. As a result, this also could lead to the lack of timely treatment. Teasley reminds parents that intervention needs to start at about the age of 3. Later intervention and treatment will often result in poorer developmental outcomes. (News-Medical and Doctor's Lounge).

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Babies and Toddlers

Since early detection is of paramount importance in the treatment and intervention of children with autism, what should parents look for in babies and toddlers?  Parents should be aware of the following warning signs:
  • The child does not make eye contact (For example, you child should look at you at feeding time).
  • Does not return a smile.
  • Does not respond to his/her own name.
  • Does not respond to a familiar voice.
  • Does not make noises to get your attention.
  • Does not respond to cuddling (May not initiate either).
  • Does not reach out to you to be picked up.
  • Does not play with other children.
  • Does not ask for help.
  • Does not make basic requests.
  • No baby talk (if not evidenced by 10- 12 months, the child needs an immediate evaluation by a pediatrician). The same advice if the child fails to respond to his/her name.
  • If, by 16 months, the child has no spoken words, an immediate evaluation is necessary.
  • If, by 24 months, the child makes no meaningful two-word phrases, the child needs an immediate evaluation.
Note: It's not unusual for some children with autism to start developing communication skills and then regress. This usually occurs between 12 and 24 months.  In other words, any loss of speech requires immediate attention by a professional.

More importantly, if autism is caught early, treatment can be very effective. The human brain is remarkably flexible. That's another reason why early intervention is so critically important.

The lesson in all of this: Early detection of autism is up to the parents. No one knows their own child like a parent does. Parental observation and experience are of incredible value and relevance to intervention and evaluation.

So What Words Should Every Child Know By Age 2?

The following words are among the most common and first acquired when a child is learning to speak:

Mummy, Daddy, baby, milk, juice, hello, ball, yes, no, dog, cat, nose, eye, banana, biscuit, car, hot, thank you, bath, shoe, hat, book, all gone, more and bye bye.

If a child is still struggling with these words by age 2, parents should consider an evaluation by a professional like a speech therapist.  A small vocabulary by age 2 is a red flag and may be a sign of other potential problems such as deafness, autism and dyslexia.
(Daily Mail UK)

Pres. Obama's Proposed Budget Does Not Sit Well With Special Education Advocates

Disability Scoop reports that advocates in Special Education are disappointed in the president's proposed budget.  The current proposed budget leaves funding for Special Education largely flat in terms of funding. School districts have already been hit hard with reductions in state and local funding.  In addition, the proposed 2013 budget does not even keep up with the rate of inflation. There is, however, some good news. The president's budget does provide an additional $20 million for early intervention services for children with disabilities in their first years of life. As of this writing, it appears the president's proposed budget will face significant resistance in Congress.  Contact your representative and let him/her know that Special Education funding needs to be increased to, at a minimum, keep up with inflationary demands.

Dan Marino Foundation Raised More Than $32 million

The Dan Marino Foundation was proud to announce it has raised more than $32 million for a center for children with developmental disabilities and for a vocational college. The center is scheduled to open this year. Marino's son was diagnosed with autism in 1992. It was shortly thereafter he started his foundation. His son Michael recently graduated from college and currently works as a DJ. Dan Marino is a former quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.

4 Your Bookshelf

Miracles Are Made: A Real Life Guide To Autism by Lynette Louise

Mommy, I Wish I Could Tell You What They Did To Me In School Today by Richard Stripp, Sr.

My Friend Has Autism by Amanda Tourville