print

Catching Autism Early: May 1, 2012

It wasn’t what 4-year-old Trent Brown was saying, but what he wasn’t saying that caught his mother’s attention.

“He has speech delay which was cause for some concern,” says Tabitha Brown.

She also noticed he didn’t play or interact appropriately with his sister.

“We could see the differences in what she could do versus what he can do.”

So they took Trent to one of The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s free autism screenings.

“We really want to get our hands on that child and see what their reaction is with us and see what the reaction is with the toys that we bring out, because that will really tell us developmentally where the child is,” says Jami Hallman, a nurse practitioner with The Children’s Hospital.

“They had him do some things with some blocks had him drawing some simple shapes, crosses and circles and squares, asked him some questions to try to get him to talk so that they could see where the intelligibility of his speech was,” says Brown.

A complex and mysterious brain disorder, autism affects one in 110 children. Characterized by difficult social interactions, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better.

“Early treatment, better outcome. If you can get them talking and get them learning how to relate some with peers, with lots of therapy, they can become very functional,” says Hallman.

Trent’s autism diagnosis led him to the treatment he desperately needed.

“If you talk to him, you can understand him. Before his intelligibility was only 10%, now he’s u p to 60%. So he speaks to you, you know what he’s saying now and that’s a huge improvement,” says Brown.

Unlocking their child’s potential is all any parent could ask for.