Pediatricians Pushing Early Autism Tests

Autism is getting a lot more attention these days, and now a group of pediatricians is making sure parents know how to spot the developmental disorder. 
   Autism was the focus of a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in San Francisco on Monday.
   They released two reports on how to spot and treat autism early on. 
   "I think the medical community is being very proactive in helping these families be able to identify some of these particular signs and symptoms," said Cynthia Bischof, Director of the Panhandle Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center.
   Bischof works specifically with providing intervention early, once a problem is seen. She says knowing there is a problem is key to trying to tackle the developmental issues.
   "It generally will increase social skills. They would be able to interact in the community and with people and their families and friends. It will also increase their ability to not only socially communicate but verbally communicate," said Bischof.
   Some of the symptoms that the AAP says may be signs of autism include:
   1.  Not turning when the parent says the baby's name.
   2.  Not turning to look when the parent points, says, "Look at..." and not pointing themselves to show an interesting object or event.
   3.  Lack of back and forth babbling.
   4.  Smiling late.
   5.  Failure to make eye contact with people. 
   The AAP is also recommending in their two reports that all children be tested for autism twice by age two.
   Another education tool, a Web site that debuted in Mid-October, offers dozens of video clips of autistic kids contrasted with unaffected children's behavior.  The Web site is sponsored by two nonprofit advocacy groups to promote early diagnosis and treatment.