Paragon AutismBlog

Early Diagnosis and Early Intervention is Crucial!

As many of you may have seen on our Facebook Page, Governor Ralph Northam has declared May 2019 Early Intervention Month because “some children are born with developmental delays and disabilities, and it is crucial that these children receive immediate intervention treatment upon diagnosis.”  According to the CDC, “recent estimates in the United States show that approximately one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 to 17 have one or more developmental disability” and the latest prevalence rate for autism is 1 in 59.”  The CDC also states, “early intervention can considerably improve children’s long-term development and social behaviors.”  A study published last week in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics stated that “new data suggest that autism detection and diagnosis can start as young as 14 months old with high accuracy, which could lead to children with autism having the option to start therapies early.”  Early diagnosis and intervention is vital while the frontal cortex part of the brain is more capable of absorbing information and changing (brain plasticity).  The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states that “Individuals can learn and benefit from interventions and learning at any age, however, the earlier the better.”

In his Proclamation, Governor Northam stated that “it is important that Virginia’s citizens know about the early intervention services available for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities so families may utilize every opportunity to provide for the health and well-being of their children.”  Children under the age of two who are suspected of having a developmental delay or developmental disability to include autism may qualify for publicly funded Early Intervention services such as Speech and Occupational Therapy under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) which are facilitated by PEIDS and the  Infant Toddler Connection.  Children of any age may also qualify for private intensive therapy covered by private insurance and/or Medicaid.

  • Speech Therapy  assists children in the areas of speech, language, thinking, and swallowing.  A Speech Therapist can provide nonvocal children with an alternative form of communication; assist a child in expanding their length of communication; improve articulation; assist with receptive language deficits; as well as assist with feeding issues.
  • Occupational Therapy assists children in succeeding in their daily activities such as:  playing, learning, and socializing.  An Occupational Therapist can assist children with sensory processing issues,  problem solving, and provide environmental modification solutions.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis assists children with skill acquisitions in areas including but not limited to: communication (receptive and expressive), social skills, play skills, toileting, food acceptance, etc.  Applied Behavior Analysis assist children with decreasing dangerous/undesirable behaviors to include but not limited to: aggression, tantrum, self-injury, property destruction, elopement, non-compliance, etc.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development lists Applied Behavior Analysis among its recommended treatment methods for Autism Spectrum Disorder and states “ABA is a scientific approach to changing behavior.”  Applied Behavior Analysis has been supported by research and noteworthy/respected organizations for decades:
  • “Investigators have suggested that, to achieve the best possible outcomes, children with autism should begin intensive behavioral treatment as early as possible, preferably before the age of 4 years” (Green, 1996).
  • “Intervention for childhood autism based on applied behavior analysis and delivered intensively at home during the preschool period can bring about significant changes in children’s functioning”  (Remington et al., 2007).
  • Thomas Frazier, Chief Science Officer for the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, states: “there is compelling data from many studies that early intensive behavioral intervention is effective.  Many children who receive early intensive behavioral intervention show substantial improvements in cognitive function, language, and daily living skills.”
Paragon Autism Services provides award winning ABA services to children diagnosed with Developmental Delay and Developmental Disabilities (including autism) who are covered by Medicaid and reside in Prince William, Caroline, Stafford, Spotslyvania, Fredericksburg, or King George.  We utilize individualized assessments and research driven interventions such as positive reinforcement to increase communication/language skills, social skills and play skills, adaptive life skills, self-help skills, and generalization while working on reducing unsafe behaviors such as aggression, elopement, self-injury, and non-compliance.   If you have any questions about Autism, local resources, early intervention, or how our ABA model can help your child, contact our office at 540-479-3889.  Find out for yourself why Paragon Autism Services has been voted 2018 FredParent’s Family Favorite Special Needs Resource for our ABA services and Outreach endeavors.