April is World Autism Awareness Month

Family Psychology Associates Promotes Autism Awareness and Education

April is World Autism Awareness Month and promotes greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To do our part in promoting and educating on ASD and other developmental disabilities and learning disabilities, Family Psychology Associates would like to share some of the often subtle early signs of autism.  Because children with ASD may often sit, crawl and walk on time, the less obvious social, communication, and behavioral difference may go unnoticed.   Please take into consideration that the number and severity of the symptoms of ASD can vary immensely from one child to another.

The following are tips for monitoring your child.  If your baby or toddler doesn’t reach these milestones, have them evaluated as soon as possible.

  • 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

Why Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is so Important

With one out of 68 children being diagnosed with ASD, it is important to monitor your child’s development and if you think they are at risk schedule to have psychological testing done to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.   Early detection is key for a child with autism and other learning disabilities to live a more normal life in society.  Once a child is diagnosed with ASD, they can get the behavioral and social skills training they need for the potential of a better life.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Affects the Whole Family

When a child is diagnosed with ASD, it not only changes the child’s life but that of the whole family.  Parents of a child with ASD must bear the additional stress of the emotional, marital, sibling, home life, and financial impact of this.  This stress may affect the whole family and their lifestyle in many diverse ways.   Receiving parent training and family therapy can help parents and family members learn how to help their child improve mentally, physically, and emotionally during their important developmental stages.  It also prepares parents and family members for the road ahead of them both mentally and emotionally.

If Your Child and Family Need Help, We Are Here

Autism Awareness - help from Dr. Erfanian and Dr. StablerBoth locations of Family Psychology Associates specialize in developmental and learning disorders including ASD.  The coordinator of services for children and adolescents with ASD in Trinity is Dr. Nasrin Erfanian and in Safety Harbor it is Dr. Chrissy Stabler.  Both are clinical psychologists trained in the administration of state of the art diagnostic evaluations of developmental disabilities, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale.  At the conclusion of our assessment, we will provide you with a written treatment plan that includes the best training, education, consultations, and therapy for your child and the whole family.

Help Family Psychology Associates Promote Autism Awareness

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and you can help spread the word to help promote awareness, understanding and acceptance of ASD in several ways.  You can join in by sharing this article on social media and participating in Autism Speaks LIGHT IT UP BLUE on April 2nd.   You can also get resources to help raise autism awareness on social media and other ways by going HERE.