One of the many worries I have as a mama-to-be is the threat of my child developing autism. As a resident of New Jersey the rate of autism in infants high, about 1 in 94 (2007). Scary . . . I know. In reading an old Fit Pregnancy magazine (Spring 2006), there was a quick snippet called Early Autism Detection written by Laurie Stephens, PH.D. In the passage she highlights a book titled, Could It Be Autism? A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps by Nancy D. Wiseman. In the book the following is stressed:
- Find a pediatrician who routinely screens for developmental milestones and takes time to listen to parental concerns.
- Parents should watch for "autism's 'red flags'"
- lack of social smiling by 6 months
- no babbling, imitating of sounds or use of gestures (like waving or pointing) by 12 months
- no meaningful two-word utterances by 24 months
Wiseman's most valuable advice according to Stephens is:
"The important thing isn't how a child compares to his cousins or playmates; it's whether his own developmental path is a healthy one."