Texas-Based Nonprofit Hopes to Enable Earlier Autism Diagnoses

In a report published this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics explored the importance of early detection for children with autism. While the average age for an autism diagnosis is 4, doctors are hoping to detect it well before the child is 2 years old. An early diagnosis allows children with autism to receive vital therapies and interventions. The Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center, based in El Paso, Texas, is hoping to facilitate earlier diagnoses for children on the autism spectrum through applied behavior analysis therapy, or ABA.

Because scheduling applied behavior analysis therapy can take anywhere from three months to a year, parents are encouraged to closely observe their child’s interactions, and contact their pediatrician if they notice anything unusual. Tatiana Francis, a behavior analyst at the Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center, explained that children “pick everything up a lot quicker if the people that are in their lives are also working on the same things that we’re working on in therapy.”

Devon Perry, also a behavior analyst at Paso del Norte, said therapy also analysts to “get a better idea of what’s causing their behaviors and what could cause the behaviors that we want to see to occur more in the future.”

Autism, which affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States, creates social and verbal communication difficulties, increased sensory sensitivity, and repetitive and restrictive behaviors. At the Paso del Norte Center, children receive customized therapy based on their age and developmental skills.

“Just seeing that progression over time and seeing the parents pick up on their skills and be able to do some of the things that we do is so rewarding,” Perry said. Source: https://cbs4local.com/news/local/local-center-assisting-in-detecting-autism-at-very-young-age

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