More and more parents are becoming aware of autism. We hear about autism on the news and radio but are often left to wonder exactly what autism is. Autism is a spectrum disorder which means the symptoms can range from being very mild to severe. Autism is usually noticed early in a child’s life and is lifelong. Children with autism have difficulty with social interaction, may have delayed speech or no speech at all and have narrow and repetitive actions. Often these children repeat their behaviors over and over and do not want to change their daily routines. While there is no cure for Autism there are several treatments. Therefore diagnosing autism early is very important to improving a child’s overall outcome.
I am Elisabeth West, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at ABC Pediatrics. My patients know me as “Ms. Lis.” As the mother of an autistic child, I understand the complexities and individual needs of autistic children as well as the frustration parents have weaving through the autism spectrum and the real world.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, signs of autism can include:
- Does not respond to their name by 12 month
- Does not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
- Does not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
- Avoids eye contact and wants to be alone
- Has trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Has delayed speech and/or language skills
- Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Gives unrelated answers to questions
- Gets upset by minor changes in routine
- Has obsessive interests
- May flap their hands or arms, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Has unusual or extreme reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
ABC Pediatrics recognizes the complexity and importance of diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder. I’m proud to be part of a health care team that champions the care of our autistic patients by staying abreast of the most recent developments. If you recognize any of the signs of autism in your child and would like to discuss them further, please call our office 910-892-1333 and speak to Bridget. She will be happy to schedule an appointment with me for your child.
Take care and enjoy the summer!