MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Sarah Plummer
The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
Feb. 28--Mountain State University held the first in a three-series symposium on autism to spread awareness and education to the public on the detection, diagnosis and treatment for the developmental disorder.
Faculty member and licensed psychologist Katie Tharp spoke at the event, focusing on how early childhood development in those with autism differs from normal progression.
"The earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis and more successful the treatment," Tharp explained.
She pointed out that, on average, four or five children out of 10,000 have autism, which tends to manifest across race equally.
To be able to diagnosis a child early, she said, parents, grandparents and teachers are important resources because they spend the most time with the child and can notice nontypical behavior.
For 12-month-olds, parents and care providers should look for social indicators of autism. A child, for instance, may not develop appropriate attachments and relationships with adults, she said.
Younger children may also have delayed language development in gesturing, like an inability to point out their wants.
By the age of 2, Tharp said, a child with autism may babble instead of using language in an effective way to make relationships, get information and inform.
They may also show a preoccupation with abnormal interests, repetitive motor mannerisms, a failure to share achievements or pleasures and the lack of social emotional reciprocity, she added.