With autism in the news so much lately, many new moms – this one included – confess to having “autism anxiety.” Symptoms of this parenting disorder include overacting if your child doesn’t say “Mama” exactly when the baby books say he should.
But for parents with legitimate concerns about your child’s development, free evaluations are available through Babies Can’t Wait, Georgia’s state and federally-funded program designed to help parents with infants/toddlers who are born with developmental delays or disabilities or BabyNet, the equivalent program in South Carolina.
And you don’t need a doctor’s referral.
Any parent, guardian etc. can call Babies Can’t Wait or BabyNet for a free screening. If the screening indicates concerns, then the team will formally evaluate the child’s development. Evaluations are free. If the child shows significant delays, a plan of services is written. Services include physical, occupational and speech therapies at minimal or no cost, depending on the child’s medical coverage.
We all know how important the first three years of life are. The sooner the therapy, the better the outcome.
“Children with special needs and their families must get the right services, as soon as possible, giving the child the best foundation to reach their full potential” said Dawn Carter of Babies Can’t Wait in Savannah.
Contact Babies Can’t Wait in Savannah at (912) 691-6888 or (877) 808-3689.
Contact BabyNet in South Carolina at 1-800-868-0404.
Dawn says early signs of autism include:
Lack of sustained attention to different sights or sounds. Aimless. Does not turn to look at sounds. (0-3 mos.)
No engagement or only fleeting expressions of joy, rather than robust, sustained engagement. No initiated smiles. Self-absorption or withdrawal. (2-5 mos.)
No interactions or only brief back and forth interactions with little initiative. Random or impulsive responding. (4-10 mos.)
Inability to initiate and sustain many consecutive back and forth social interactions or exchanges of emotional signals, ex. showing dad a toy. Repetitive vs. purposeful behavior. (10-18 mos.)
No words, or rote use of words. For example, child may only echo what was last heard with no apparent understanding of meaning. (18-30 mos.)
No words, or memorized scripts, coupled with seemingly random, rather than logical, use of ideas. (30-42 mos.)