By now you probably know that April is National Autism Awareness Month. You’ve probably heard the alarming statistic the Centers for Disease Control recently announced: that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.
It’s likely that you encounter children and adults with autism each day in your community. Odds are that you have some understanding that autism affects individuals’ ability to communicate, interact socially, and perform in school.
You may think you know a lot about autism spectrum disorder, but would you be able to identify red flags or warning signs in your toddler? Would you know where to turn if you suspected that your child might be on the autism spectrum?
There’s a lot about autism that we don’t know: Why some kids have more severe symptoms than others. If the actual rate is increasing or if the recent increase can be explained by better detection. Or the big question: Exactly what causes it in the first place?
But we do know this: the earlier a child is diagnosed and begins therapy, the better the outcomes will be.
Eight parent experts have graciously shared their insights and experiences with us about the importance of early intervention in autism. They were also asked what advice they’d give to the parent of a toddler who suspects her child may have autism.
Please read and share; even though you may not be wrestling with questions about your child’s development, it’s likely that someone you know will benefit from this information.
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.