One of the greatest fears of parents is having their child diagnosed with autism, or any other developmental disorder for that matter. And who can blame them? With a rapidly-growing number of children with autism, and still very little public knowledge about these disorders, more moms and dads are wondering how to be more proactive. Here are a few starting points and ideas to consider so you can take charge of your child's health with confidence.
1. Screenings, and staying on schedule
Most cases of autism are diagnosed at the age of two. However, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. For most parents, the first tell-tale signs that something may be wrong are difficulties in verbal communication, and lack of eye contact, both of which may appear earlier than the age of 2.
Dr. Lourdes “Tippy” Sumpaico-Tanchanco, developmental-behavioral pediatrician and professor at Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, advises parents to get their child checked as soon as they have concerns, highlighting the importance of undergoing the routine developmental screenings at 9 months, 18 months, 24 months, and 30 months. Dr. Tippy also encourages all parents, with or without concern, to have their kids undergo an autism-specific screening at 18 months. A close monitoring of the child's behavior and open communication with the pediatrician can make a big difference in the child's prognosis, should he or she be diagnosed early.