AAP Presents What Every Parent Needs to Know About Autism

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published a new must-read resource for parents about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Today through October 14, the organization is offering a free 83-page digital excerpt and if you order by October 31st, you can receive a 30% discount off the list price of $14.95.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know is edited by Dr. Alan I. Rosenblatt MD FAAP, a specialist in Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics, and Paul S. Carbone MD FAAP, a general pediatrician at the University of Utah and also the parent of a son with autism. Other pediatricians who also specialize in ASD’s have extensively reviewed the book.

Chapter One begins with Dr. Carbone introducing his personal experiences as a parent of an autistic child. The authors also share the story of Ellen and Brian, another family affected by the neurodevelopmental disorder. Both case stories emphasize to parents that there is help and support available, and you are not alone in this journey.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of biologically based disorders that affect a child’s behavior and social and communication skills. They belong to a group of disorders known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), which includes autism and Asperger syndrome. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children are affected by an ASD.

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Early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders include:
• Resists snuggling when picked up
• May have temperament differences during infancy, such as being described as a very quiet or very fussy baby
• Makes little or no eye contact
• Shows no or less expression in response to a parent’s facial expression
• Has difficult in establishing and keeping friendships
• Says no single words by 15 months or 2-word phrases by 24 months
• May repeat exactly what others say without understanding its meaning (parroting or echolalia)
• Shows no or less interest in communicating
• Less likely to start or continue a conversation
• May rock, spin, sway or flap hands (stereotypic behavior)
• Likes routines, order, and rituals
• May be obsessed with few activities, doing them repeatedly during the day

Autism, believe it or not, was once blamed on parents. Bruno Bettelheim PhD of the Orthogenic School in Chicago in the 1950’s blamed patients’ unusual behaviors on “aloof parenting style” which forced children to “withdraw into their own world.” We know now that the disorder begins early in brain development and is not the result of bad parenting. But we still don’t know exactly how it is caused.

Although no single treatment works for all children with autism – each child is unique – it is widely accepted that early intervention brings the best chance for autistic children to live the most normal life possible. The AAP encourages starting with your child’s pediatrician to help you make the best choices for your own family.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know can be purchased from the HealthyChildren.org bookstore. Using the code AUTISM2012 during checkout will discount the list price by 30%.

Reference: HealthyChildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics

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