The early years of life are critical to a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. Identifying Autism early is one of the most important ways you can help your child reach his full potential. It is not always easy to interpret the early warning signs, especially when there are so many variables for parents to research when they are first faced with the idea that their child has learning difficulties. The internet can be a daunting place to find accurate and meaningful information. One additional resource that is available to families and health care practitioners, at no cost, is a web-based education system on the CDC’s website known as the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. It aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need.
Part of the Act early program is the “Autism Case Training (ACT): A Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Curriculum” which is designed to educate future pediatricians on fundamental components of identifying, diagnosing, and managing autism spectrum disorders through real life scenarios. It was developed in collaboration with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship Training Programs and has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. It consists of seven cases, each with a Facilitator’s Guide and optional supporting presentation and videos.
Besides the curriculum, there are many additional resources, such as milestone checklists also available in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Arabic. Though this course was designed for educators and pediatricians, but can be accessed by anyone wishing to know more about early developmental stages of Autism. There are also many other videos and training materials available for immediate download, including children’s books and related resources on positive parenting tips.