Last weekend I went to a great conference sponsored by Zero to Three. One of the most important sessions that I went to among others was about a new program out of the Center for Disease Control. Now we tend to think of illness when we think about the CDC, but this is a prevention program for young children.
The name of the program is Learn the Signs, Act Early. The purpose of the program is to teach Pediatricians and parents about child development so that they don’t miss early warning signs that children may not be developing correctly or on time. This is important because the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders has risen from 1 in 2,000 in 1990 to 1 in 100 today. Why this is happening, the researchers don’t know yet. But what we do know is that the sooner a child has intervention, the sooner he will be able to reach his full potential.
In two reports done by Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network and the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) the majority of children identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder had documented concerns by a parent or professional before the age of three. These concerns were about the child’s language, social, or play development, but the median age of diagnosis was 4 ½ to 5 ½ years.
As a Child Development Specialist, I have been concerned for years that parents and Physicians have been missing early warning signs and have missed the benefits that early action could have provided these young children. This program will increase the dialogue on the topic of developmental milestones and increase early action on childhood developmental disorders.
It’s Aparent will be dissemination Learn the Signs, Act Early in the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas and Agoura We will be Sharing information with Pediatricians, preschools and day care sites. We will also share the information with parents at local community sites such as Churches, Synagogues, Community Groups and other places where parents get together. Please let us know if you would like us to distribute information to your doctor or preschool or if you would like us to speak to your group. It’s Aparent is happy to be able to share this vital information with the community.
Visit the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” website for information about childhood developmental milestones and delays. You’ll be able to track the developmental milestones your child should be reaching and download fact sheets on developmental milestones for children from 3 months to 5 years.