DELAYED DIAGNOSIS DELAYS EDUCATION & THERAPIES
In the first study of Autism in Mexico, Lead Researcher, Dr. Eric Fombonne, in his recently published study, "The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Guanajuato, Mexico; the Leon Study'*, "the study leads us to believe that there may be up to 400,000 children and adolescents affected by autism and in need of services."
"Of particular interest is that Mexican children with autism are being diagnosed at a very late age ..." says Dr. Fombonne. He adds that nearly 78 percent of the children with autism did not receive their diagnosis until age 3. Another 22% went undiagnosed until age 5.
Research tells us that autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as ages 18 to 24 months. Diagnosis at age 3 leaves autistic children with 12 to 18 months without access to services and therapies.
Dr. Sappa Parikh reported on ABC local that Latino children with autism are diagnosed 2.5 years later than other children in the United States.
According to Lisa Shulman of NYC's Albert Einstein's College of Medicine in her 2015 study of early intervention with autistic children, she indicates that early intervention can help one of 14 toddlers overcome symptoms of autism. Many of these children will still require special education services for emotional, behavioral or learning issues.
*Dr Eric Fambonne, The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Guanajuato, Mexico; the Leon Study, Published in 2016
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
According to the national organization, Autism Speaks, the symptoms of autism can include:
· Difficulties with social interaction
· Tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors
· Communication challenges
As this professional organization notes, these symptoms and their severity can vary greatly, leading to relatively mild issues on the high functioning end of the spectrum and severe issues on the low functioning end.www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/symptoms
WHAT IS NEEDED?
One of the most important keys to combating autism is early diagnosis. This allows children to receive appropriate education, therapies and nutrition.
Supporting early diagnosis, is the education of parents and health care professionals so that they can:
· Identify the symptoms of autism, and
· Receive referrals to appropriate specialists
Another part of the solution, following diagnosis, involves the delivery of therapeutic activities guided by well-defined learning objectives and delivered by trained therapists.