Home / Health / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Website helps spot autism 'red flags'
Adjust font size:

What is so unusual about a baby fascinated with spinning a cup, or a toddler flapping his hands, or a preschooler walking on her toes?

Parents and even doctors sometimes miss these warning signs for autism, but an online video "glossary" makes them startlingly clear.

The Website offers video clips of autistic kids contrasted with unaffected children's behavior. Some of the side-by-side differences can make you gasp. Others are more subtle.

The free site also defines and depicts "stimming," "echolalia" and other confusing-sounding terms for autistic behavior. Stimming is repetitive, self-stimulating or soothing behavior including hand-flapping and rocking that autistic children sometimes do in reaction to light, sounds or excitement. Echolalia is echoing or repeating someone else's words or phrases, sometimes out of context.

The new site is sponsored by two nonprofit advocacy groups: Autism Speaks and First Signs. They hope it will promote early diagnosis and treatment, which can help young children with autism lead more normal lives.

Pediatrician Dr Michael Wasserman cautions that the site might lead some parents to needlessly fret about normal behavior variations, and said they should not use it to try to diagnose their own kids.

"Just as there's a spectrum in autism ... there's a spectrum in normal development," says Wasserman, with Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. "Children don't necessarily develop in a straight line."

But Amy Wetherby, a Florida State University professor of communications disorders who helped create the site, says sometimes "parents are the first to be concerned and the doctors aren't necessarily worried. This will help give them terms to take to the doctor and say, 'I'm worried about it'."

And while the children shown in the "Red Flags" video clips on the site have been diagnosed with some form of autism, the sponsors note that not all children behaving this way have something wrong. In fact, the behaviors in some short clips - when viewed individually - look fairly normal.

1   2    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read Bookmark and Share
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Autism may be connected to increased rainfall
- Autism linked to low birth weight, preterm birth
- Study links kid's autism with parent's mental illness
- Autism in need of more attention