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Seeing Things Differently: Early Identification Of Autism And Early Intervention


New federal data find that about one in 59 children has autism spectrum disorder.

Connecticut Public Radio’s four-part series, Seeing Things Differently, explores delays in diagnosis, and why there are additional delays for children of color. We hear from moms raising kids with ASD, and learn where concerned families can turn for help.

Here are highlights from our first conversation:

Dr. Thyde Dumont-Mathieu on early identification

“The average [age] of diagnosis currently is four, but we can actually reliably diagnose autism between 18 and 24 months.

“Some children seem to be developing fine, then all of sudden they either stop progressing or actually start losing some of what they had gained. They may lose words they were using, or social engagement activities, like playing social games or waving or saying ‘hi.’ Parents also report their children may stop looking at them or making eye contact. And for some kids, they start having certain mannerisms”.

Dr. Holly Frost on Modified Checklist For Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT

“I screen everyone in my practice, not just at-risk children. All the children in the practice get M-CHAT.”

Jenn Hudson on learning that her son has autism spectrum disorder

“His occupational therapist told me one time, ‘It’s like you’re taking a trip and you think you’re going to Florida and you end up in Alaska.’ Things just change and you just have to roll with it.”

Dr. Dumont-Mathieu on early intervention

“Time is of the essence in this case. The earlier the kids are identified, the more they are able to receive services and the better their outcome will be.”

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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