Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism: Getting Your Child Help When It Matters Most

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism: Getting Your Child Help When It Matters Most

Article excerpt

Parents with one autistic child have a 20-percent greater chance of having another child with autism.

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That's according to Daniel Openden, vice president and clinical services director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC). However, as Openden notes, children may begin showing signs of autism as early as six to 12 months old. And this could be a parent's best chance.

"If your child does have autism, early intervention may be his or her best hope," says advocacy group Autism Speaks on its website.

If you're planning to have a baby or are currently pregnant, getting to know the early warning signs of autism can be a huge advantage for you and your kids.

What are the early warning signs?

The following is a list of early warning signs that should serve as "red flags" to get your child checked, from SARRC and Autism Speaks:

* No good eye contact with you: babies learn through engaging with others.

* No large smiles or other happy expressions by six months.

* No variety of sounds (i.e. ba, ma, da) starting around six months.

* No interest in exploring the world around them.

* No back-and-forth sharing of sounds and facial expressions by nine months.

* No babbling by 12 months.

* No single words by 16 months.

* No meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months.

My baby shows red flags. What should I do?

Talk to your pediatrician immediately. Together, you will determine the best steps to get your child evaluated for an autism spectrum disorder as quickly as possible. …

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