Autism Symptoms

You can observe some Autism symptoms in a person as young as two years old and sometimes even younger. Here are the main Autism symptoms that will allow you to identify or wonder if your a member of your family, a friend or anyone else might be affected by this disorder. The severity of these Autism symptoms may vary as each individual is unique. That is why it is evaluated on a spectrum.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pediatricians push for screening of Autism Symptoms

Pediatricians push for autism screening
The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging all children to be screened for autism by age 2, according to news reports. Warning symptoms include babies who don't babble at 9 months and 1-year-olds who don't point to toys.
There's no cure for autism, but if it's spotted early enough--some say before the window closes--therapy can lessen its severity.
What parents still don't know, however, is exactly what therapy they should be seeking should they get the devastating diagnosis. What works? What doesn't? And are pediatricians equipped to help answer this hotly debated question?
In two new reports released today, the AAP recommends early intervention for children younger than 3 years old, which includes "behavioral methods, early developmental education, communication, occupational and physical therapy, highly structured social play interventions, and extensive parent training."
Parents can also consider medication, since certain drugs can target behavior associated with autism spectrum disorders.
But while medication is OK--even though all drugs come with potential side effects and risks--something as simple and safe as changing a child's diet is not among the recommendations because it lacks evidence, according to the two new AAP reports.
In fact, putting a child on a gluten-free, casein-free (wheat-and dairy-free) diet is considered an "alternative" treatment. And even though it's endorsed by celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, who touts it in her best selling book "Louder than Words" (Dutton, $23.95), the AAP warns parents that there's no proof it works.
Some parents of autistic children, who have dietary changes in conjunction with mainstream approaches say they're not waiting for double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies, especially since removing wheat and dairy can't hurt.
And pediatricians like Sandy Newmark, director of the Center for Pediatric Integrative Medicine, say the diets can work with for some children.
"Many children with autism have food sensitivities, especially to gluten and casein, which cause inflammation in the gut," Newmark said. "This results in what is known as a "leaky gut" or increased intestinal permeability. This means that substances, especially proteins, that shouldn't cross into the bloodstream can cross.
These proteins elicit various immune and autoimmune responses that contribute to autistic behavior.
We don't yet understand all the mechanisms involved (in what seems to bring about improvement)," said Newmark. "But I can tell you from my own experience that the GFCF diet can result in remarkable results in some, but not all autistic kids."
Don't be afraid to ask your pediatrician what he or she thinks about alternative treatments, also known as a "biomedical" approach. Doctors are, after all, now supposed to "become familiar with the more popular (alternative therapies) and approach the issue objectively and compassionately," according to the AAP report.


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