ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - April is Autism Awareness Month and Monday, April 2 is World Autism Day. Pediatricians say recognizing the early signs of autism is crucial to a child's development. Studies have shown that early behavioral intervention can improve a young child's learning, communication and social skills.
According to Ochsner Pediatrician Myriam Ortiz, M.D. (4845 Main Street, Zachary), parents and caregivers should become familiar with typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.
"Every child develops at their own pace," says Dr. Ortiz. "It's important to discuss your child's behaviors with your pediatrician at each visit to determine if your child needs a little extra help."
Some pediatricians' schedules will vary slightly, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies get checkups at birth, 3 to 5 days after birth and then at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months.
RED FLAGS TO TALK TO A DOCTOR ABOUT
- No eye contact, such as looking at you while being fed (by six months)
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions (by nine months).
- No babbling (by 12 months)
- Does not respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice (by 12 moths)
- Does not follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out. Doesn’t point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate (by 12 months)
- No spoken words (by 16 months)
- Regression of babbling, speech or social skills (at any age)
In America today, 1 in 6 children have one or more developmental disability and 1 in 68 children fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. In Louisiana, 20% of all children have special healthcare needs.
For some children, realizing their potential might mean a little extra help in the classroom or special tools to support communication in the world around them. For others, intensive therapies to overcome the effects of complex neuromuscular conditions make the difference.
No matter what the ability or challenge, children and families need reliable, coordinated and comprehensive care in partnership with a team they trust.
Ochsner will open a new autism center, Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development, in New Orleans in 2018. Patients and their families will find multidisciplinary care, specialty services and the resources they need under one roof.