Recent studies on autism and what we know for sure

A couple of interesting articles were published recently on the prevalence of disability in young children and the identification of disability in young children.

First, the Academy of Pediatrics reports that the incidence of childhood disability is actually growing, and while the prevalence of disability is higher among children living in families with low incomes, the rate of growth in the number of children with disabilities living in higher incomes is growing faster.

Then last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about how children with autism may be identified as babies. We’ve known for a while that autism can be diagnosed reliably around 2 years old, and that young children who receive therapy tend to do better than those who are diagnosed after they start school. Here at Easter Seals, we want to help EVERY child get a great start in life. We want every parent to feel well equipped with the knowledge of how to help their child learn and grow. And, for young children with disabilities, we have decades of proof that these kids succeed in school alongside their peers when they receive early intervention services. That’s why we encourage parents and caregivers nationwide to take the Ages & Stages Questionnaire. This child development screening tool is available online and at no cost, in English and Spanish, and it helps parents and caregivers track a child’s development through age 5. The survey, which should be completed every six months until the child reaches age 5, helps a parent to know exactly how their child is growing and learning. And we all know that knowledge is power.

The jury is out on why there are more young kids with disabilities and why the prevalence of autism continues to grow. But, armed with the right information, services and supports, young children can learn and grow and be hugely independent and successful adults.

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