Have your kids under age 5 been screened yet?

A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders reports that children with autism who come from minority backgrounds are more delayed than their Caucasian peers on the spectrum. Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore assessed 84 toddlers with autism from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and found significant differences between white children and their non-white peers that spanned from language to communication and gross motor skills. Researchers say one likely reason for this delay is that in minority communities, symptoms go unnoticed longer.

Far too many infants and toddlers are being left behind—every year, we as a nation fail to identify more than one million children, all under the age of 5, who have a disability or are at risk for developmental delay, and many will never catch up.

Here at Easter Seals, we know young children with disabilities can succeed in school alongside their peers if they receive early intervention services—that’s why we encourage parents and caregivers nationwide to take the Ages & Stages Questionnaire. This health screening tool is available online and at no cost, and it helps parents and caregivers track a child’s development through age five.

After observing a child, parents and caregivers may take the online survey, and then download their child’s results to discuss with their pediatrician. The survey, which should be completed annually until the child reaches age 5, helps indicate if the child is on track to enter kindergarten.

The Ages & Stages Questionnaire also offers advice and support from Easter Seals if a child displays developmental delays. We can give every child an equal opportunity to learn and grow, but in order to do that, it’s best to get kids the help they need in the critical years before they turn 5.


 

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