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Health Tip: Is it Autism?

Autism Awareness Month

Did you know that autism affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S.? April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves about this fast-growing developmental disorder.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorders, refers to a group of neurological developmental disorders that impacts the normal development of social interaction, communication skills and cognitive function. 

Signs of autism may present as early as a few months old, and typically become noticeable before age 3. 

Signs of autism generally present in two areas:

Social and communication difficulties

·         Suddenly withdrawn from or indifferent to social interaction

·         Failure to respond to their name

·         Avoiding eye contact with others

·         Delayed speech, repeating phrases and giving unrelated answers to questions

·         Speaking in flat robot-like or sing-song voice

Repetitive and characteristic behaviors

·         Repetitive movement or unusual behavior like flapping arms, rocking side to side or twirling

·         Preoccupied with parts of an object or obsessively interested in a particular topic

·         Emotional outbursts caused by changes to routine

If you notice these signs:

·         See the child’s pediatrician to get the proper screenings and support from pediatric specialists if needed, and

·         Get support, whether it’s a support group or website like www.AutistmSpeaks.org. There are plenty of online and community resources for parents of children with Autism. 

Need diagnosis or support help for your child? Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Pediatric Neurology Services offers a variety of services to help diagnose and manage developmental disorders like autism. Call 1-800-642-0101 or find a physician online.

Health Minute 041118