The earlier a child is diagnosed with autism or developmental delays, the sooner intervention services can start. It’s during this time of rapid brain growth and plasticity that it can help a child the most.
To increase the number of area children who would benefit from early intervention, the Indiana University School of Medicine formed a partnership with Riley Children’s Foundation. Together, they opened Early Evaluation services for autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay at six Indiana locations in South Bend, Lafayette, Bloomington, New Albany, Evansville, and Fort Wayne. Additional sites are planned for later this year.
The services they provided are part of the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral System (NDBS), a model developed by faculty at the IU School of Medicine. This offers a solution to the need for high quality health care for children in Indiana with neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States – an overall increase of 30 percent from 2012. In Indiana, the average age of diagnosis is 5.3 years, but early screening with referral for evaluation and diagnosis can occur by age 18 months.
To meet this growing need, diagnostic services are now available for children who have been identified in early screenings as having concerns for developmental delay or autism. The criteria for evaluation appointments are:
- Child must be 18-42 months of age
- Child must have primary care physician
- Primary physician must identify concern based on standardized screening tools (often ASQ and/or MCHAT)
To read the entire Spring 2015 edition of The Autism Beacon click here.