BENEFITS OF EARLY INTERVENTION FOR AUTISM
The advisory board for Petra’s Place, headed by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, explains… How common is autism in the UK? Autism is diagnosed in one in 100 children. Why do we need early intervention services for autism in the UK? Autism is partly genetic and how a child’s brain is wired from before birth and during development. But if a child receives early intervention they can learn to socialise and communicate more easily, cope better in a world they otherwise find overwhelming and become less anxious, so that they can fulfil their potential. What does early intervention for autism involve? The best therapy centres offer a range of approaches. These might include speech and occupational therapies, the arts (music, art and drama), fun activities (cooking, play) and family therapy for parents. What are the signs of autism in young children? Not making eye contact, very rigid behaviour and not showing reciprocal social action, such as taking turns in play. But none of these are diagnostic. Concerned parents should discuss with their GP, who can decide if the child needs a full assessment.