What You Need to Know About Autism and Developmental Milestones

Almost everybody knows somebody with autism

Photo: Unsplash/@guillaumedegermain

Photo: Unsplash/@guillaumedegermain

Almost everybody knows somebody with autism. At the rate we’re going, 1 in 2 children will be diagnosed with autism by 2025. We can help improve the statistics by detecting the signs as soon as possible, so that children can be evaluated and treatment can begin. Autism and other neurologic conditions can improve dramatically if the right diagnosis is made and the right treatment plan is started but time is of the essence. When I returned to Puerto Rico 17 years ago. I realized that about 30% of my patients suffered from autism, ADD, or other developmental problems. The challenge I continuously faced was treatment. Traditional therapeutic plans require referrals to tons of different speech, occupational and physical specialists that would often result in little to no improvement. Medical treatments have side effects and frequently did not yield significant results for my patients with autism. I could feel the frustration and desperation, but I did not know what else to do. 

Finally, I decided I had to find a way to help these children. This goal has taken me on 10-year journey all over the world to learn different methods of scientifically-proven treatments for autism. I get so much satisfaction professionally and personally, when I see my patients improve. It is priceless.

Development milestones will be discussed at each check up your child has with their pediatrician. Be honest with your child’s physician, they are here to help you. Ask questions and do your homework so you know what signs to look for. 

If you notice any of these red flags, be sure to bring them up:

  • Does not lift head by 2 months, does not crawl appropriately at 6 months  (not soldier like not asymmetric), or walks by 14 months year old
  • Does not smile with you or look at you/avoids eye contact, has flat or inappropriate facial expressions
  • Does not respond to name by 12 months, does not look at the camera when you take a picture
  • Delayed speech and language skills:  Does not start babbling at around 6 months, 3-5 words by 1 year old, phrases by 2 years old, sentences before 3 years olds
  • Repeats words or phrases (echolalia), does not talk about himself as I, does not use gestures (e.g. wave bye-bye or point),
  • Speaks robotically/flat (without emotion or intonation) or sing-song
  • Has severe problems finding the words to express himself appropriately for his age, gives unrelated answer to question
  • Does not play pretend (e.g. talking on the phone, feeding a doll) by 18 months
  • Does not like physical contact, is not comforted by others, does not tolerate changes in routine
  • Delayed emotional skills: Does not understand humor, jokes, sarcasm, emotions, teasing, presents emotional immaturity, can not relate to peers, is not interested in age appropriate activities or games, does not understand personal space boundaries, not interested in having friends, prefers to play alone
  • Inappropriate respond to sounds (e.g. starts crying when in crowd places, the sound of the vacuum cleaner or blower), does not tolerate textures (like walking in sand), unusual reactions to sound, taste, look or feel of things.
  • Obsessive behavior or movements (e.g. putting toys in the line, hand flapping, turning around).

If you feel your child or loved one demonstrates signs of autism, check with your physician and request an evaluation from a specialist as soon as possible. Children with autism improve dramatically with early treatment. They can achieve their maximum potential and have happy lives.

As one of the many clinicians around the world offering an approach to treatment Autism, it is important to note WIN recognizes the benefits of existing and often insurance approved standard of care treatments for Autism. As each patient is different and each caregiver’s journey is different, WIN appreciates the path that leads each patient to WIN. One of WIN’s biggest advantages is the cost benefit of services to results that can be provided to a patient and his or her caregiver network.

You can find Dr. Baez Franceschi on her weekly Facebook Live event.

This information is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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