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Interview with Interview with Dr. Craig Collison on Childhood Autism

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Medical Minute - 2:13

Dave Kurten: The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mount Nittany Health. Our topic this week: childhood autism. Our guest: Dr. Craig Collison. Can you discuss how prevalent autism is in children today?

Dr. Collison: Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown about one in 88 United States born children has an autism spectrum disorder. This is a 23 percent increase since the last report in 2009. Some of that increase may be based on how kids are being diagnosed at this point.

Dave Kurten: What are the signs of autism?

Dr. Collison: The big things we look for in children with concerns of autism are changes or delays in social language and behavioral skills. We recommend that kids who are not babbling by about 12 months of age, gesturing, pointing or waving by about 12 months of age, that don’t say any words by 16 months of age or any two-word phrases by about two years of age should see their doctor and be evaluated for this. There are also concerns with kids who have skills and then lose them or they tend to regress, and that can be a big concern for autism.

Dave Kurten: How is a child initially screened for autism?

Dr. Collison: We look for changes in the child’s behavior. There are different tests that we do in the office. One test is called an M-CHAT, which basically asks the parent different questions about things that the child does, and can show us red flags or concerning behaviors with that. Once there is a concern with possible autism, then your pediatrician will work to get the child referred for further testing, both psychological and evaluation by speech, and developmental teachers.

Dave Kurten: Where can community members get more information on childhood autism?

Dr. Collison: Certainly by seeing your pediatrician. We suggest Mount Nittany Physician Group. We have offices in Bellefonte and Boalsburg. Our Bellefonte office is at 355.3626 and Boalsburg is 466.7921. And, we also have a website, which you can look for more information, at mountnittany.org.

Dave Kurten: Craig Collison, M.D., has been our guest on this edition of the Medical Minute. Thank you for your time.

Dr. Collison: Thanks for having me.

Dave Kurten: The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mount Nittany Health.

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