Autism Spectrum Disorder is a communicative and behavorial disorder that affects an ever growing population of children in the United States. The disorder, characterized by a specific set of “red flags” carries with it as much mystery as it does intrigue by the medical and psychological fields. While the cause of the disorder as well as appropriate and most effective treatments are still a work in progress within the medical and psychological community, both communities continue to make enormous strides in diagnosis and treatment as well as increasing avenues of education available for parents of autistic children.
Red flags of Autism generally become noticeable in the earliest stages of development, although they are not isolated to this stage alone. From infancy, the inability for some children to make or maintain eye contact or use expressive gestures such as smiling, cooing, or using hand gestures, is indicative of a child who could potentially be affected by the disorder. If left untreated, these symptoms have the ability to progress. Untreated progression of these red flags often result in children becoming isolated in most social settings, such as school or play groups, as they do not develop the necessary or accepted social interactive skills that the typical child displays. According to a vast majority of early intervention specialists, the key to effective treatment is early and intensive behavorial intervention.
Among the advancements being made in the treatment of the disorder early intervention methods are becoming increasingly popular and more readily available to famlies in need. Many of these programs offer services, free of charge, to parents of autistic children and the children themselves. While some may be time sensitive and seemingly invasive, it has been proven that early intervention has shown the greatest success in treating many of the symptoms and behavioral issues of Austim.
Florida State University is championing the cause for early intervention. The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), located in the heart of Tallahassee, offers free Autism screenings, informational and instructional courses for parents of autistic children, and intervention services ranging from in-home visits, clinical assessments and behavioral therapy, as well as referrals to other organizations in Tallahassee that offer intervention services such as speech therapy.
CARD is also a research facility with branches all over the state of Florida, that uses much of the information gathered through their clinical assessments to better understand the disorder, its causes and methods of treatment. The center currently services over 25,000 families throughout the state, and focuses heavily on families in rural communities, with little or no access to speech therapy and other methods of behavioral intervention.
There are many ways in which individuals can gain access to the information and services that CARD provides. You can contact them via their website at: