What happens after my child is diagnosed?
Research shows that early intervention treatment services (for children 0-3 years old) can improve a child’s development and ability to learn new skills. Services can include different types of therapies to help with talking, walking, and interacting with others. It is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you have a concern for their development.
Your child may qualify for early intervention treatment services even if they don’t have an ASD or diagnosis beyond developmental delay. This is due to The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which says that children under the age of 3 years who show signs of potential developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through our MN early intervention system.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause social, communication and behavioral difficulties. You cannot tell from someone’s appearance whether they have ASD or not. However, people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from people without ASD. People with ASD can have skills in learning, thinking, and problem-solving that range from gifted, to having very significant impairments in functioning. Some people may need a lot of support in their day to day lives while others simply may not.
Content adapted from “Autism.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What is screening and monitoring?
A child’s growth and development are followed through a partnership between parents and healthcare professionals. At each visit, the doctor looks for developmental delays or problems and talks with the parents about any concerns the parents might have. This is called developmental monitoring.
Any problems noticed during developmental monitoring should be followed up with developmental screening. Developmental screening is a short test to tell if a child is learning basic skills when he or she should, or if there are delays.
If a child has a developmental delay, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Early identification and intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time.
What are developmental disabilities?
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.
Content adapted from “Developmental Disabilities.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Why is early identification and intervention important?
According to the CDC, about one in six children have some form of developmental disability. This includes anything from cerebral palsy to autism spectrum disorder to a minor speech impairment. In the cases of autism and developmental delay, the causes remain unknown. However, Autism in particular, and the growing prevalence of Autism has been a hot topic. According to the CDC, the prevalence of Autism has risen greatly in the last 15 years. In 2002, 1 in 150 children were identified as having autism which has since risen to 1 in 68 in 2010. (“Data and Statistics,” CDC). It is widely known and will be discussed later how identifying developmental differences can greatly impact a child’s ability to learn new skills and help alleviate barriers both children and families face as they enter school. There are a wide array of different early intervention services for children who have a developmental delay (“LTSAE Factsheet,” CDC).
What is the Minnesota Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign?
We are a public service campaign to support and collaborate with other agencies that support families and child development. We do not provide services but work in Minnesota to deliver The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention “Learn The Signs. Act Early” Campaign to educate families and professionals about developmental milestones and the importance of developmental screening and acting when there is a concern with a baby, toddler or child’s development. We work to promote Minnesota’s early intervention system, Help Me Grow MN.
- Autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in how the brain functions. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and usually last throughout a person’s life (1). ASD includes former diagnoses of autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger disorder. These diagnoses were collapsed into the single category of ASD in 2013.
- Developmental delay
A developmental delay is a persistent delay experienced by a child in reaching one or more developmental milestones—how children grow, move, communicate, interact, learn, and play.
Prevalence is a scientific term that describes the number of people with a disease or condition among a defined group at a specific period in time. Prevalence is usually expressed as a percentage or proportion of the defined group. For this project, we counted the number of 8-year-olds in 2014 who were identified with ASD and then divided that number by the total number of 8-year-olds in our surveillance area during 2014.