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Archive for May, 2012

Autism Awareness

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 10:05 PM
posted by admin

April was Autism awareness month and I would like to take this opportunity to educate my families on this very prevalent developmental disorder.  Autism Disorder is a brain condition that affects the development of social skills, speech and communication and the ability to interact with the outside world.  It is best described as spectrum of developmental conditions that include the high functioning Asperger disorder, pervasive developmental disorder and Rett syndrome.  It usually manifests between 2 and 3 years of age with the onset of speech problems, but sometimes it can be recognized earlier in more severe cases.  According to recent research data the prevalence for Autistic Disorders continue to increase and now the new figure is 1 out of 88 live births will be affected.  Males are more commonly affected than females and there is higher risk for siblings of affected children.  Correct diagnosis and early detection are determining factors to initiate early intervention services.  Referrals can be even if there is a suspicion while families are waiting for definitive diagnosis.  It is believe that this a chronic condition that will extend to adult life however I firmly believe that positive outcomes in speech, behavior and social and adaptive skill are attained thanks to early intervention.  Developmental screenings should take place every time a child is seen by the pediatrician.  If there are consistent behaviors and speech issues that are concerning you as a parent please do not ignore and bring to your pediatrician’s attention.  In the typical 10 minute office visit it is very difficult to attempt to diagnose such complex condition. The American Academy recommends two Autism specific screening by the age of 2 years old.  The cause of Autism is believed to be multifactorial:  there can be genetic predisposition and some environmental factors; however there is not one known cause.  Research is currently undergoing on the causes and better treatment approaches. Recently some data suggest that advance maternal age as well as maternal obesity and gestational diabetes can have a relationship.  Much more active research needs to be done as well as more support for pediatricians and families.  In some place resources for speech and behavioral interventions are very limited. For more information about resources visit Autism Speaks website as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics official website.  Or ask your pediatrician.  Finally I like to clarify that the studies are very clear that MMR vaccines or thimerosol  a mercury containing vaccine preservative are not the causes of autism. If you want a copy of the most comprehensive research please visit…or ask me.  Dr. Tello

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