According to the CDC Hispanic children with autism remain undiagnosed or often diagnosed later than the national average. Communication and cultural barriers were cited as some of the reasons for the delay in diagnosis. However, Pediatricians feel that Latino parents don’t have as much knowledge about autism as other races so they bring up fewer concerns. It is important to remember that you know your child best. If you are concerned at any time, voice it!
Early intervention is critical and extremely important. The earlier the problem is identified, the earlier intervention can begin, and the more likely your child is to learn the skills they need to communicate, engage in social interactions and manages their behavior.
What is Autism?
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. It’s a group of complex disorders of brain development that can range in severity, that often impair development of social, communication and behavioral skills. Studies show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
What are the signs?
The following “red flags” 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
Located on the Autism Speaks website is the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) which can help you determine if a professional should evaluate your child. This simple online autism screen takes only a few minutes.
With the proper supports and intervention all people with autism are able to go on to live fulfilling lives, as independently as possible. I am a proud mother of a 16 year old who was diagnosed at 2.3 years old. He currently speaks multiple languages, is able to sign language and is a bright lovable teenager who is attending his first year of High School. There is hope.