Sooner Equals Better
Since brain development can be influenced during early
childhood, early intervention is critical in the diagnosis
and treatment of children with an autism spectrum
disorder. A ground-breaking research study (Lovaas, 1987)
found that with intensive, early behavioral interventions,
nearly half (47%) of children with an autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) were indistinguishable from their typically developing
peers. Numerous follow-up studies have supported the
finding that early diagnosis and intensive behaviorally-based
interventions are a child's best hope for reaching his or her full
potential over the long term (Kasari, Freeman, & Paperella,
2006; Sallows & Graupner, 2005; McEachin, Smith & Lovaas,
What to Do?
If you suspect your child may have symptoms of autism or
Asperger's Syndrome, review this checklist and share it with your
doctor today. Discuss the signs and symptoms you've noticed. Early
intervention is the key to successful treatment of autism spectrum
disorders, so it's important that you move quickly if you
suspect any developmental delays.
- Does your child make consistent eye contact with you?
- Does your child respond to his/her name?
- Does your child become preoccupied with play & ignore
- Does you child often line things up & get upset if they are
- Does your child take interest in other children
- Will your child look at an item to which you point?
- Is your child overly sensitive to noise, taste, sensation or
- Does your child flap his hands, rock his body, or spin himself
- Does your child repeat sounds, words, or phrases?
- Does you child point at objects to show interest?
- Does your child get upset by minor changes?
- Does your child give unrelated answers to questions?
- Does your child have obsessive interests?
How to Talk with Your Doctor About Autism
When visiting your pediatrician for a well-child visit, there
are so many topics to discuss, but if you have questions or
concerns about symptoms of autism or Asperger's that you have
observed, use these tips to speak candidly with your physician.
1. Share this checklist and the signs you have observed
2. When you describe the symptoms, use specific examples: "She
never babbles," or "She doesn't turn to look at me when I call her
3. Don't compare your child with other children because your
doctor may assume your child is just developing a little
differently and try to soothe you instead of clearly understanding
what you are observing
4. Talk about specific challenges. Tell your doctor about
problems your child might be having at school, or share any times
that you fear your child might hurt himself or others.
5. Be persistent. If you have concerns, don't take "no" for
an answer. Early intervention is key, and further screening with a
neurologist or developmental pediatrician can confirm your
suspicions or alleviate your concerns. Your child's health and your
peace of mind are worth the effort.
6. Feel free to ask questions when you present the checklist:
- Are there tests available for autism?
- Who conducts them?
- Should I pursue an assessment?
- Can you refer me to experts in the diagnosis and treatment of
7. Understanding healthcare terminology can be overwhelming for
anyone. If you don't understand words or phrases your doctor uses,
ask him/her to rephrase in words you can understand.
Remember: You know your child best. If you have a
feeling that "something is just not right," trust your
instinct. Ask for a referral to a specialist or seek
support from your local autism experts at TouchPoint Autism
Services. We can help you understand your child's symptoms and
behaviors and connect you to the support that you need.
In addition, visit our special project site -- Sooner Equals
Better -- at www.soonerequalsbetter.org.
For more information about TouchPoint's services, including autism
assessments, call 314-432-6200, or by e-mail at email@example.com