Monday, June 16, 2008
Medical Reports: Answer for Autism
Celeb moms like Jenny McCarthy have increased the awareness of autism, but there are still so many families who don't know what symptoms to look for or can't get the evaluations and treatments they need for their children. Tonight, Seven's Diana Diaz shows us a new mobile clinic that's offering an Answer for Autism.
WSVN -- To watch 5-year-old Jourdan read a book with his mom or barrel by on his bicycle, you probably wouldn't guess he's autistic.
Cara Coller, Jourdan's mom: "We're constantly in therapy, if he's not in actual therapy we're following through with it at home."
Thanks to 40 hours of therapy a week, the little boy has made tons of progress, a big difference from four years ago when his mom noticed Jourdan wasn't developing like others his age.
She suspected Jourdan had autism, but no one else, even his pediatrician, would confirm it.
Cara Coller: "That's when the fear would set in that 'Why am I seeing this, and am I crazy? Or is something really wrong?'"
Thankfully, Cara was able to get a diagnosis for Jourdan and help, but many families aren't that lucky.
Dr. Jennifer Durocher, UM/NSU Center For Autism & Related Disabilities: "Sometimes the pediatrician is a little dismissive of those early signs and takes more of a wait-and-see approach. The earlier a child is screened and autism is suspected, the better the chance for a positive outcome for the family."
To help families identify the problem sooner, the UM/NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities is hitting the road with the first traveling autism clinic in the country.
Dr. Jennifer Durocher: "So one of our major initiatives is going to be to focus on low income neighborhoods, primarily non-English speaking neighborhoods."
The screening service is free, and the van will swing through Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.
Inside the van, therapists will spend time one-on-one with families watching how the child plays and observing their social and communication skills.
Dr. Jennifer Durocher: "We're looking at seeing whether or not the child is exhibiting signs and concerns that they should then go on and be evaluated. The van will allow the families who do have concerns to get some answers."
Cara knows answers about autism can make all the difference in getting the treatment kids like Jourdan need to live a normal life.
Cara Coller: "It's made massive improvements. I went from having a child with severe autism who, now, he still has autism, but he is high functioning and is going to a regular, everyday school."
The mobile autism clinic gets rolling this Thursday.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
UM/NSU CARD Mobile Autism Family Clinic
Contact Natalee George, Special Projects Coordinator UM-NSU CARD