Richmond—In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 88 children is affected by autism. United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) and Charterhouse School want to encourage parents to be aware of the early warning signs that could lead to a diagnosis of autism.
Autism Speaks lists the following “red flags” which may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:
· No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
· No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
· No babbling by 12 months
· No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
· No words by 16 months
· No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
· Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Should your child be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, there is help available. Charterhouse School offers a specialized educational program for middle and high school students with higher functioning autism. The school also has a program for college students, Courage to Succeed, where students get the assistance they need to obtain a college degree.
“Early intervention is important in helping a child with autism get the support that he or she needs,” said Erik Laursen, Executive Director of Charterhouse School. “Being aware of the red flags, seeking help and support will help tremendously. Once a child is diagnosed, making sure that the child’s educational needs are being met is imperative. All children deserve the best education possible.”
To learn more about the programs offered at Charterhouse School, visit www.charterhouseschool.org.