Do You Suspect Your Toddler May have Autism?
Complete the M-CHAT-R for Direction
If you suspect your toddler may be on the autism spectrum, it is critical to find out as soon as possible. Early, intensive intervention during the toddler years can greatly improve cognitive and language skills for preschoolers impacted by autism. In 2009 the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) began requiring that pediatricians conduct screening for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at 18 and 24 months regardless of whether ASD was suspected. Additionally the 2009 report addressed strategies and therapies, such as ABA, speech therapy and occupational therapy, which are important for the treatment of autism in young children. The report recommended intensive treatment for a minimum of 25 hours a week with a low child to teacher ratio.
As you can see, it is important to determine if your child is on the spectrum as early as possible. The M-CHAT-RTM (the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised) was developed in 2009 by Robins, Fein and Barto. This tool, which is recommended by the AAP, is an autism screener for toddlers designed for use with children 16 to 30 months of age. Families can complete the M-CHAT-R for free at the following website.
If you complete the M-CHAT-R at home, please discuss your results with your pediatrician. If the MCHAT-R indicates a possibility of ASD, make an appointment with you physician as soon as possible to discuss further assessment. Speech & Occupational Therapy provides assessment and treatment for children with autism and developmental delays at our Frisco, McKinney and Plano locations.
As mentioned, the second part of the AAP report reviews educational strategies and associated therapies, which are effective treatments for ASD, and confirms that early intervention is crucial for effective treatment. The report states that a child diagnosed with autism should be actively engaged in intensive intervention at least 25 hours per week, year round, with a low student-to-teacher ratio allowing for sufficient one-on-one time.
For more information about AAP report and effective treatment for young children with autism spectrum disorders visit these sites: