04/11/12 On April 5, Dr. Carrie Caldwell presented the last in a series lectures on various disorders affecting children. Dr. Cadwell volunteered to present overviews during the series held at Menominee elementary of speech disorders, ADHD, and autism for parents as well as community members.
As April is National Autism Awareness Month, her topic was very timely. She began by reviewing the various aspects of autism, Asperser’s Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder NOS.
The Center for Disease Control recently released statistics on the prevalence of children identified as falling within the autism spectrum. The newest figures show that the disorder effects 1 in 88 children in the United States or one in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls.
In Indiana, the numbers from special education child count data indicate that one in 83 children are affected, up from one in 163 in 2005.
Common behaviors associated with autism spectrum can include the need for routine/rituals (i.e. night time ritual), small changes in environment lead to significant distress, and repetitive motor actions such as flapping, rocking, spinning, bouncing, and finger movements.
Cadwell explained that a correct diagnosis is essential. She said, “Two heads are better than one applies to improving reliability and validity of diagnosis.”
As to why there seems to be an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism, she said, “There are no solid arguments and the rates are not explained.”
Cadwell said, “This is a borderline epidemic.” She said parents and others need to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
Cadwell practices at Cadwell Psychological Services in Plymouth.
Carol Anders Correspondent