Five Things to Know About Autism in the New Year

    Time marches on. Growth takes place. We learn from each other. A new year is about to begin. It is time to review FIVE important things about autism that remain the same.

    • Characteristics vary widely

    There is a wide bridge and a big diversity in the characteristics of autism from child to child or adult to adult. All adults with autism are not Rainman. The symptoms vary widely in severity, duration, and across environments. It is important to observe social, behavior, and language skills. History and parent report are also significant components of a profile for ASD.

    • Early intervention is paramount

    No one can retrieve lost time. It's that simple. It's that important. When a child is referred to the SLP by another professional or parent for "weird behavior," lack of speech, or unsociable responses, listen and observe. The SLP must train him/herself in knowing and understanding what it is they are hearing and seeing. I have worked with children and their families as young as six months when their responses to their environments were not normal. Everything we do as professionals should be directed toward independence. Start now, because the sooner, the better.

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