Autism is one subject that is of great concern to many parents. In this episode of The Lab, Daddy Clay and Daddy Brad talk with a behavior analyst to learn more about this disorder. Learn how many children will be affected by this neurological disorder. Are there autism signs or symptoms that can be seen in the behavior, communication and socialization of kids? When should you visit a pediatrician? Are there screenings that can help determine if a child is autistic.
Learn About Child Autism Clay: Today in The Lab the topic that’s on the minds of lots of parents, autism. Brad: Today’s show is brought to you by Baby Bjorn, baby carries that are eco-tech certified and safe for your baby, Baby Bjorn. Clay: To get a better understanding to this condition. We meet and talked to the committed folks over the Central Texas Autism Centers. Kelly Wood-Rich: Autism is a spectrum disorder. It’s a neurological disorder and it manifests as a behavioral disorder and so it manifests itself in deficits of communication, behavior and socialization. Right now, the latest statistics are one in a 150 births will affected with an autism spectrum disorder. And four out of five of those births will be male. There is currently no biological test or markers or blood test that you can get, it’s pretty much just typically caregivers and parents being really good observers. Typically by 12 months if we’re seeing any delays in the children making eye contact, pointing and gesturing towards things of interest, any delay in babbling or if you see any regression in those skills. Do they engage in typical kind of play behaviors, are they're really rigid in their behavior or do what we call stereotypical play? So did they line up their toys instead of playing with toys in a typical manner, some kids will develop more typically and its not until little later on when we get them in more social settings that we start to see and impairment in the ability to make friends. The ability to sustain a conversation, sometimes we might see an over focus of we call that perseverating on certain topics. So the child might be able to know everything about dinosaurs and be able to have a full conversation or narrate to you everything about dinosaurs but won’t be able to have that reciprocal exchange, where they're asking questions or being able to dialog about different things. If a family suspects that their child may have an autism spectrum disorder. The first step is to go to their pediatrician. Pediatrician should be screening for this with screening so called the M-Chat. Every state has an early childhood intervention agency that will provide from the state level resources to start therapy. That could be speech and language pathology. That could be contacting with an occupational therapist or a behavior analyst. To find a service provider that does apply behavior analysis therapy you can go to BACB.com which is the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and find a board-certified behavior analyst in your state or your area. In applying behavior analysis we’re going to do an assessment and figure out the function of your behavior. So we look at -- because typically of the lack of communication skills they're engaging in problem behavior to communicate. So if you can’t get the language to get your wants and needs met to request, milk when you want it, you could learn to scream for milk and that works pretty well. So that’s the first step, is to analyze and that’s part of what applied behavior analysis and a board-certified behavior analyst will do for you, is help you to analyze and figure out why your child is doing some of the behaviors that they're doing and then we treat the function and not just the form. So we’ll develop a behavior treatment plan that will help reuse these challenging behaviors and at the same time we’ll be teaching replacement behaviors and oftentimes that language therapy. Clay: Man as a dad you haven’t had to deal with this, I can’t imagine what the families that are coping with autism go through. Brad: And its tough at this community has been divided by controversy of course I'm speaking about Andrew Wakefield whose report in the Journal Lancet linked the MMR vaccine with autism. Of course, Lancet later retracted that article and Wakefield lost his license to practice medicine. Clay: That’s Jenny McCarthy’s dude right? Brad: Yes, it is. And it’s very obvious that passions run very high on this guy and the subject and we want to hear from you. Drop a comment on this video or join the conversation at DadLabs.com. Has autism touched your life? Do you have thoughts on the controversy? Let us know you’ll hear back from us. Clay: I’d like to thank our sponsor Baby Bjorn. Eco-tech certified, safe for your baby, Baby Bjorn. Well that’s all for us here at the lab, we’ll see you next time.