When Should You Diagnose Autism?

By July 8, 2024 ESDM
Diagnose autism early so child can start ESDM therapy in Sydney in Mascot, Bondi Junction and Randwick.

When Should You Diagnose Autism? The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Intervention

When a child is diagnosed with autism, it can be an overwhelming and emotional time for parents. One of the most pressing questions is, “When should you diagnose autism?” The answer is clear: as early as possible. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for achieving the best outcomes for children with autism. In this blog, we will explore the importance of early diagnosis and highlight the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as the best form of intervention for young children with autism.

Why Early Diagnosis Matters

Research consistently shows that early identification of autism leads to significantly better outcomes for children and their families. Early diagnosis allows for early intervention, which can improve language skills, cognitive abilities, and social interactions. It also helps in reducing the severity of autism symptoms. Here are some key reasons why early diagnosis is vital:

1. Maximising Brain Development

The first few years of life are critical for brain development. During this period, the brain is highly plastic, meaning it can adapt and change more readily. Early intervention takes advantage of this plasticity, helping to shape brain development positively.

2. Better Long-Term Outcomes

Children who receive early intervention are more likely to develop essential life skills, including communication, social interaction, and self-care. These skills are foundational for their long-term success and independence.

3. Reducing Future Costs

Early intervention can lead to significant cost savings over a child’s lifetime. By addressing developmental delays and autism symptoms early, the need for more intensive and costly interventions later in life can be reduced.

4. Supporting Families

Early diagnosis and intervention provide families with the knowledge and resources they need to support their child’s development. This can reduce stress and improve the overall quality of life for the entire family.

The Role of Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we recommend the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as the best form of intervention for young children with autism. ESDM is a comprehensive, play-based approach that integrates developmental and behavioural principles. Here’s why ESDM stands out:

1. Play-Based Learning

ESDM uses play to engage children in learning activities. This approach makes therapy enjoyable and keeps children motivated. Through play, children learn essential skills in a natural and engaging way.

2. Individualised Plans

Each child receives a personalised therapy plan tailored to their unique needs and strengths. This ensures that the intervention is targeted and effective, addressing the specific challenges faced by each child.

3. Intensive Teaching

ESDM involves intensive teaching, with therapists engaging children and teaching new skills every 20-30 seconds. This high frequency of learning opportunities helps children make rapid progress.

4. Parental Involvement

Parents play a crucial role in the ESDM. They are trained to incorporate therapeutic techniques into their daily interactions with their child. This extends the benefits of therapy beyond the clinic and into the home environment.

5. Naturalistic Settings

Therapy sessions often take place in natural settings such as the home or preschool. This helps children apply what they learn in real-life situations, promoting better generalisation of skills.

Signs to Look For: Early Red Flags of Autism

Early diagnosis is possible by recognising the early signs of autism. Some common early signs include:

  • Limited Eye Contact: Lack of eye contact with caregivers and others.
  • Delayed Speech Development: Not babbling by 12 months or speaking single words by 16 months.
  • Repetitive Behaviours: Repeating the same actions, such as hand-flapping or rocking.
  • Strong Preferences: Intense focus on specific toys or objects.
  • Sensory Sensitivities: Overreacting or underreacting to sensory inputs like sounds, textures, or lights.
  • Social Challenges: Difficulty engaging in social interactions, playing with peers, or understanding social cues.

Taking Action: Steps for Early Diagnosis

If you suspect your child may have autism, it is crucial to take action early. Here’s what you can do:

1. Consult a Professional

Reach out to a developmental paediatrician, speech pathologist, or psychologist who specialises in autism. Early assessment by an experienced professional is essential.

2. Use Screening Tools

Tools like the ‘ASDdetect’ app developed by La Trobe University can guide parents through a series of questions about their child’s development and provide recommendations for further assessment.

3. Advocate for Your Child

If you have concerns, don’t wait. Push for a thorough evaluation even if others reassure you that everything is fine. Early action is crucial.

4. Contact OneOnOne Children’s Therapy

Our clinics in Bondi Junction and Mascot are equipped with highly trained therapists who specialise in early autism intervention using the ESDM. Our Certified ESDM Therapists can provide the support and guidance you need.

Learn More About the Benefits of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

ESDM and expressive language

Imitation Skills in The ESDM

ESDM in the Community

Is ESDM Neurodivergent?

Expertise and Individualised Care

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, our Certified ESDM Therapists are also Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Psychologists. This multidisciplinary expertise allows us to offer the most individualised programs based on professional knowledge, ensuring that each child receives the best possible care tailored to their unique needs.

We’re Here to Support You

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive. Our clinics are more than just spaces for therapy—they are places where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential. By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses each child’s unique needs.

Reach Out for Support

If you’re concerned about your child’s development or want to learn more about how the ESDM can help your child, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help. Call our Sydney clinics in Bondi Junction and Mascot clinics at (02) 80657837 or email us. You can also book a free 30-minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey.

Together, we can help your child develop the skills they need to thrive in all areas of their life.

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