Children's Hospital Colorado

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children (S1:E27)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 59 children receives a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Experts have also noted that the rate of prevalence continues to rise. As a PCP, you will be the first physician who mentors affected families through their child's evaluation and diagnosis.

According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children should be screened for autism at ages 18 and 24 months. When a baby has ASD, a PCP may even notice potential signs of autism during the one-year well-child exam. Developmental milestones such as communication skills, fine motor skills and emotional response are all behaviors that you might notice while interacting with a child.

Listen to a childhood autism expert discuss ASD

In today's episode, we discuss ASD with Elizabeth Coan, PsyD, a Doctor of Psychology at the Neuroscience Institute at Children's Colorado.

In this episode, our expert explains:

  • How a PCP can take the first steps toward diagnosing autism.
  • The most common signs and symptoms of autism.
  • How to implement autism spectrum tests and other screening tools in your practice.
  • How to sensitively discuss autism spectrum disorder with parents and families.
  • Tips for managing screenings and referrals after diagnosing autism.
  • Reasons why there are things to celebrate after an autism diagnosis.
  • Tips pediatricians can share with families to help develop the strengths of a child with autism.
  • Best practices for counseling families on how they use the internet when researching autism.

Helping families embrace ASD

As Dr. Coan explains, practitioners who work with children on the autism spectrum wholeheartedly believe that a diagnosis is something to celebrate. Autism certainly comes with specific challenges, but it also represents a special difference in the way a child's brain works.

How autism spectrum disorders are treated at Children's Colorado

Children with ASD are treated by the Neuropsychiatric Special Care Program at Children's Colorado. Speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and specialists from other disciplines work together to promote optimal social, adaptive and behavioral function in kids with autism. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.