An A-L-A-R-M for Autism

Source: https://flic.kr/p/a4gnBr

By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor, bSci21.org

Dr. Marty Nygaard has an article on TheSpectrum.com on an acronym (ALARM) to aid in physicians’ detection of autism.  We summarized the acronym below.  Take a look at it and let us know if you think it is useful or totally off base.

Autism is prevalent.  According to Nygaard, approximately one out of every six children has a developmental or behavioral diagnosis, and a diagnosis of autism is found in about 1 in every 88 cases. (Note: Statistics fluctuate, but see the Centers for Disease Control.)

Listen to parents, as signs of autism can appear early and parents concerns can be critical at this stage.

Act early.  The earlier and more intensive treatment can be, the better off the child will be.

Refer children with suspected symptoms to a specialist to verify if a diagnosis is warranted.

Monitor the child’s behavior over time for any new signs that a diagnosis may be warranted.

Nygaard talked about the broadening of the definition of autism and some key characteristics, such as a lack of social interaction, speech delays, sensory sensitivity, and many times a “focused brilliance” in a particular skill or talent.  He also emphasized the wide spectrum of autism from mild to severe.  The latter may be characterized by a total lack of speech and social interaction.

Dr. Nygaard also endorsed Applied Behavior Analysis as “an extremely effective, but also time intensive” treatment.

So what do you think of his acronym?  Let us know below.  Also remember to subscribe to bSci21 via email to stay in the loop with new articles sent directly to your inbox!

 

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4 Comments on "An A-L-A-R-M for Autism"

  1. Dawne Morgan | May 29, 2015 at 7:05 am | Reply

    I would like to know the source of information behind the “1 out of 6 children has a developmental or behavioral diagnosis” .

    • Thanks for your comment! I added a note in the text about how statistics fluctuate and hyperlinked to CDC data that approximate Dr. Nygaard’s stats, which were not accompanied by references. The 1 in 6 statistic is in the hyperlink.

  2. Dear bSci21,

    Thank you for sharing this excellent article. The ALARM acronym is excellent.

    I would like to ask that the author revise the prevalance statistics. I believe it is 1 in 68 now, but it should be verified officially.

    Thank you too for the comment about pediatricians listening to parents’ concerns. We noticed things about my son at age 6 months, but the doctors just brushed me off. Since I didn’t know he had autism (had barely heard of it), I could not describe my son’s behaviors in the clinical terms that might have made an impact.

    I look forward to sharing this article.

    Martha Gabler, B.A., M.A.
    Autism Parent
    Level 2 Certification, Teaching with Acoustical Guidance
    Author, Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living witn Autism

    • Thank you Martha! I added a note in the text about how statistics fluctuate and hyperlinked to CDC data that approximate Dr. Nygaard’s stats, which were not accompanied by references.

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