National Autism Awareness Month (Week Three)

April 12, 2018

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

This writer mentioned in the initial article of this series that the motivation for this series came from a co-worker whose grandson was diagnosed with autism. When my co-worker spoke with her daughter regarding her grandson’s perceived developmental delays, she immediately began looking for answers for her son’s condition. Up to this point, the pediatrician dismissed the daughter’s concerns indicating that her son may just be slow in speaking.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but is about 4.5 times more common among boys than among girls. If you are concerned or think your child may have ASD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts, the CDC suggests that you contact your child’s doctor and share your concerns.

If you or your doctor are still concerned, ask the doctor for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child.

Further, the CDC recommends calling your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.

If your child is not 3 years old, contact Wisconsin’s early intervention system:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Bureau of Long Term Support
Division of Long Term Care

If your child is 3 years old or older, contact your local public school system. The CDC recommends that even if your child is not yet old enough for kindergarten or enrolled in a public school, call your local elementary school or board of education and ask to speak with someone who can help you have your child evaluated. If you’re not sure who to contact, call the Early Childhood Technical Assistance at 919-962-2001 or visit the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) website at:

The CDC reiterates that research has shown that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is important to get help for ASD as soon as possible.

Since my little friend has been diagnosed with having autism, his mother has become her son’s most powerful advocate. With the help of early intervention therapists, her son is making great strides, speaking a few words, and expressing his desires, needs and wants more often with words and gestures. He has already met his teachers and toured the elementary school to prepare him for kindergarten. Source:

Next Week: Continuation

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in this article, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your medical doctor or health care provider. You are encouraged to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have concerning blood donation and your eligibility.