Early detection and early intervention are vital to treating persons with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatricians must be attentive to developmental milestones; as recently as 10 years ago; pediatricians would often dismiss delays in milestones. Today, the situation is better, but not perfect. The American Academy of Pediatrics has instituted two recommended autism screening programs during well-baby visits for infants 18 and 24-months old.

Dr. Lisa Wiggins, a developmental psychologist and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) refers parents to the CDC’s “Learn the Signs – Act Early” program, which promotes early identification by helping parents pay attention to developmental milestones. And tools like Autism Speaks’ 100 Day Kit help families through the days following diagnosis. It’s alright to feel strong emotions after your child has been diagnosed, but the sooner you contact people to help and/or educate you, the faster you will begin to feel in control of meeting your child’s needs.

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