April is autism awareness month, and each week we will share a list of resources related to one aspect of autism spectrum disorder. This week we are focusing on all things related to diagnosis and early intervention. Follow along on social media to gain additional insights on this topic. 

Symptoms of Autism 

The range of autism symptoms varies greatly. One individual may experience mild anxiety or avoid eye contact, whereas another may have much difficulty communicating and engage in severe tantrums. Knowing the common symptoms of autism can be helpful. 

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Screening and Assessment 

Over the past decade, many pediatricians have begun screening for autism during well-child checkups. As a result, many young children exhibiting early signs of autism are receiving referrals for appropriate assessment. Those children who eventually receive an autism diagnosis are often prescribed speech and behavior therapy, medical guidance, and other supports to improve their quality of life and prognosis. Research has shown that intervening as early as possible is associated with more positive outcomes than treatment later in life or not at all. This article discusses the ins and outs of autism screening.

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Diagnosis Matters

While making an accurate diagnosis of autism is important, it is also critical to look for other associated conditions that may require specific therapies. These can include medical conditions that can cause or mimic symptoms of autism as well as conditions such as verbal dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, or severe feeding issues that might require very specific types of testing and/or therapy. This talk will focus on clues in a child’s history that indicate a need for further medical workup or referral for specific testing or therapies. Details about different types of testing and therapies and when and why they are indicated will also be covered.

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Advice For Parents

This article is geared toward parents of newly diagnosed autistic children and parents of young autistic children who are not acquainted with many of the basic issues of autism. Our discussion is based on a large body of scientific research. In this article, you will find information on diagnosis, the onset of autism, causes of autism, autism prevalence, testing and treatment, preparing for the future, social relationships, state and school programs, prognosis, next steps, and more. 

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Treatment Information & Resources 

There are dozens of autism treatments, and choosing the right ones depends on the individual’s needs and challenges. 

When selecting a treatment, it is important to work closely with your doctor and other healthcare professionals. It is also recommended that you inquire about the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment(s). This should include positive and negative findings as well as possible side effects. This article discusses some of the most common treatments for autism.

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Prognosis

If your loved one has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, you may wonder about the likely course of their condition. Will they improve? Will challenging behaviors stop or increase? What can you do to support their development and growth over time? Because every individual with autism is different, there are no universal answers to these questions. However, the prognosis for people with autism has improved over the last two decades as more treatments have been identified and tested.

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Blood-brain barrier dysfunction in Pediatric Acute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Regulation

June 13th, 2024|Anxiety, Assessment, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Biomarkers, Early Intervention, Health, Medical Care, Neurological, News, PANS/PANDAS, Parenting, Research, School Issues, Ways to Help, Webinar|

Jennifer Frankovich, MD, provides research updates on blood-brain barrier dysfunction in Pediatric Acute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). Playback of Dr. Mondal's presentation and Dr. Hussein's presentation will be available at