The most important message that the Today Show program had was the importance of early identification of Autism and intervention. Since so much of the learning takes place in the first three years of life (walking, talking, interaction with other people) it is easy to see why it is so important.
Autism can show signs very early. By three months of age, there may be indications that the baby is developmentally behind. He is not interested in their hands. She does not smile at people and appears frightened by them. And, by three or four months, they're not babbling.
If a parent has one of those gut feelings that all is not right, there is a great resource here in Lubbock. It is called the Early Childhood Information Center. If your child is between birth and two years old, this cutting edge Center will come to your home to evaluate your child.
Of course, not all developmental delays are autism. But, what ever the difficulty, the child needs an intervention. If it is autism, they will develop an educational plan and work with the entire family to provide the education and stimulation that the child needs. They know that, while going for therapy two or three times a week is helpful, if they can teach all the caregivers involved with the child, and provide ways of stimulating and interacting with the child, therapy will occur 8 to 10 times a day as part of the routine.
When children are over two, the school district will provide the testing and follow up necessary. For more information call Donna Hammock at the Early Childhood Information Center. The number is 766-1172. She tells us that people from all over the state look to Lubbock as the leading program in early childhood intervention.
More information about autism is available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can "Learn the Signs: Act Early," by clicking here.