Know the signs of autism in children

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children falls on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Beth Kowal, a child and adolescent psychiatry specialist at IU Health Arnett, appeared on News 18 This Morning to speak about children and the autism spectrum.

“A lot of people don’t realize how broad the autism spectrum is. It’s called a spectrum because there’s a variety of kids who fit into it. Some of those kids who range from being above average intelligence…to kids who have intellectual disabilities and more learning problems. There are also kids who have great verbal skills and abilities and no speech delays, and then there are kids who are non-verbal on the spectrum as well.”

Kowal said doctors use social communication difficulties to help diagnosis autism in children. Those difficulties can include peer interaction, developing friendships, verbal and nonverbal cues and repetitive behavior.

Early diagnosis also makes a big difference.

“Based on many studies, early diagnosis can improve outcomes for these kids. There’s a huge effort and a huge push across the nation to try and get these kids diagnosed early, so they can get the services that they need,” said Kowal.

IU Health has partnered with Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine to start an early evaluation clinic to diagnosis autism in children between 18 and 42 months.

For more information, call IU Health at 765-448-8000.

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