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How to Get Early Intervention Services for a Child w/ Autism

Learn how to get early intervention services for a child with autism from pediatrician and child development expert Asma J. Sadiq, M.D. in this Howcast video.


If you have a child who you think may have features of autism or autism spectrum disorder, or is even diagnosed by the primary physician, either way - you can avail off early intervention. And early intervention always known as EIP is something that's available in every state. And at 0 to 3, you can actually initiate the service very much on your own even without involving your primary physician, who at that point may or may not be as concerned, or if you don't get an appointment. If you have concerns about your child having speech delay, or a typical speech development, poor social contentedness or eye-contact or social referencing or they're in their own world, or being very repetitive, having rigid behaviors. There many red flags and you can initiate an evaluation with early intervention going through your district, going through your local burrow. A lot of information is available even on government websites; you can do the 0 to 3 program.

They will respond to your concerns, but they will only respond to your concerns. For example, if you only talk about speech delay, your child will only get a speech evaluation. Unless you talk about sensory issues or fine-motor or motor delays, then you will get an occupation therapy or physical therapy evaluation. Similarly, a psychological evaluation is done when there are concerns raised about behavior and understanding. So if you're not raising those concerns, it's not automatic comprehensive evaluation. And that's a very important point that I want parents to be aware of because a lot of people say, "Hey I had an early intervention evaluation and I'm getting speech therapy and occupational therapy for my child." But if you do not have a psychological evaluation, you will not end up getting the behavioral services that are so important for a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Also, to make a diagnosis of ASD, as we are going to abbreviate for autism spectrum, you need to be a Ph. D. Psychologist. And if not so, I would nonetheless, even if you do get an early intervention evaluation; go to your primary physician. Whether they were the initiating one or otherwise, follow up, give them feedback, get a referral to a specialist whether it's a developmental pediatrician or a neurologist to evaluate the child for possible other reasons for developmental delay. Early intervention is wonderful, because there is a lot of data from the national council that it does make a difference. In fact, the earlier the diagnosis, the better chance you have of intervening with the neuroplasticity of the brain. And there is a lot of data supporting that, not just early intervention but also getting adequate services, and there is interesting data on increased hours of service, so at least 25 hours of service is important.

Early intervention evaluations are done at multiple centers, some hospitals have them as well, and there are sites, you can easily Google it, look it up and you can get that information going and directly call the hotline. Early intervention services are provided both at a center as well as home-based. And often kids with the autism spectrum need one or the other or both. So, early intervention is the way to go. And there is concern that parents has noticed symptoms, parents have concerns for their child, even prior to the screening process. And there is a gap between the time of parental concern and actual diagnosis. So let's get early intervention going early, it is crucial for your child.

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