April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands encourages community members to recognize the importance of early diagnosis in treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
“Autism spectrum disorder is a condition which affects a child’s communication and social skills. Children may also have highly specific interests, repetitive behaviors and sensory concerns,” said Dr. Caroline DiBattisto, developmental pediatrician with Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands.
“Early diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder is extremely important. If a parent has a concern about their child’s development or behavior, they should discuss it with their child’s primary care provider as soon as possible.”
Early signs of autism spectrum disorder in some babies and toddlers include difficulty with:
- Eye contact
- Smiling when smiled at
- Responding to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
- Pointing or waving goodbye
- Looking where you are pointing
- Spontaneously offering affection
- Imitating play or facial expressions
- Playing with others or sharing enjoyment
- Asking for help or making other requests
The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician:
- By 6 months: No big smiles or warm expressions
- By 9 months: No back-and-fourth sharing of sounds, smiles, or facial expressions
- By 12 months: Lack of response to name, no babbling, no back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
- By 16 months: No spoken words
- By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating
- About one percent of the world has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2016)
- Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 59 births (1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls). (CDC, 2016)
“If you have concerns about your child, contact your child’s pediatrician to determine whether further evaluation is needed,” said DiBattisto. “Each child is unique. When there is a diagnosis of autism, early intervention can lead to the best outcomes.”
About Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands
Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.