No matter what the cause, it has been shown that earlier detection of developmental delays and access to early intervention and treatment gives children that critical window of opportunity to make important gains in their abilities.
Villa Park (PRWEB) April 17, 2012
Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region announces the opening of its new Autism Diagnostic Clinic at the Villa Park location, 830 S. Addison. With the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of experienced professionals, diagnoses are possible in children as young as age two.
The Autism Diagnostic Clinic’s doors have opened just as the nation recognizes April as National Autism Awareness Month.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, March 29, released a new study on the prevalence of autism among eight-year-olds in 2008. It is now one in 88 children, instead of one in 110 as was previously thought, and one in 54 for boys. These statistics suggest that more children are being identified and should receive the services and supports they need for best outcomes.
Improved detection of cases, as a result of better access to services and greater awareness of autism, may be contributing to the increase in prevalence.
“No matter what the cause, it has been shown that earlier detection of developmental delays and access to early intervention and treatment gives children that critical window of opportunity to make important gains in their abilities,” said Kathy Schrock, vice president of Clinical Services at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region.
Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region and Susan Myket, Ph.D. & Associates have partnered to assemble an exceptional team for the new Autism Diagnostic Clinic. A social worker, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist and a psychologist, all experienced, work together with the families and children to determine an appropriate diagnosis that best suits each individual child.
The first family to utilize the clinic’s services found that their child does not, in fact, fall within the boundaries of an autism spectrum disorder. The family’s concerns were validated by the team, however, diagnosis of a related developmental disability was given. The team was able to recommend initial treatment guidelines and resources that would best meet the needs of this child.
The Autism Diagnostic Team uses a variety of assessments and clinical observations to determine the abilities and needs of a child. Areas assessed include but are not limited to:
- sensory processing
- expressive and receptive communication
- social communication
- play skills
- cognitive abilities
- motor performance
- oral-motor abilities
Following the assessments, the team meets together with a single mission – how to help a family, no matter what the diagnosis.
“Easter Seals has been serving children with autism spectrum disorder for many years,” Schrock said. “Our expertise with young children is nationally recognized. We are committed to early detection and intervention and developed this clinic to meet this commitment.”
Easter Seals also partnered with Rachel Loftin, Ph.D. because of her expertise in the field. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and school psychologist with an extensive background in educational, behavioral and social intervention approaches for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and related conditions.
The mystery of autism
Autism is a complex developmental disability is typically identified during the first three years of life. It affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness, better diagnostic skills and funding are helping families today.
“While there is no known one cure nor one single effective treatment, autism is treatable,” said Andrea Granato, coordinator of Autism Services at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region. “During early years of childhood development a child can gain the skills he or she needs to be successful.”
The importance of early intervention is vital. To that end, “Make the First Five Count” is Easter Seals’ awareness and advocacy effort designed to give children with or at risk of autism, developmental delays or disabilities the right support they need to succeed in school and build a foundation for a lifetime of learning.
“Every year, our nation fails to identify more than one million children under the age of five with a disability or at risk of a developmental delay,” Schrock said. “According to a new Easter Seals 50-state report, we, as a nation, aren’t doing enough to keep children from falling through the cracks.”
Schrock, her colleagues and parents have good reason for concern. Children who start school behind their peers may struggle trying to catch up.
“We can give every child an equal opportunity to learn and grow,” Schrock said, “but we need to give children the help they need in the critical years before they turn five. We know young children with special needs, autism and developmental delays can succeed in school alongside their peers if they receive early intervention services with therapies that work to strengthen their physical, social, emotional and intellectual abilities at a very young age.”
For more information on the new Autism Diagnostic Clinic or to schedule an evaluation, please contact Diana Dixon at 630-282-2022 or visit: http://www.eastersealsdfvr.org.