Black To Life… For A Healthier You
Staying aware of autism risk
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
April is Autism Awareness Month, a good time to consider a concerning fact: African-American children are being diagnosed almost two years later than children in other ethnic groups. This delays treatment and results in a lower quality-of-life, according to research. For example, the average white child is diagnosed around six years old, while the average black child is diagnosed at age eight.
It is appropriate to define autism, which can be diagnosed as early as 18 months-old, as a disorder that causes children to lag behind their peers in terms of speech, behavior, handling routine tasks and other developmental markers.
Pregnant women can take some precautions that may reduce the risk of autism, including avoiding exposure to certain chemicals such as: pesticides and phthalates (commonly used in plastics), and certain drugs such as terbutaline (used to stop premature labor), valproic acid (to control seizures) and some antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers more recommendations:
- Discuss medications with your healthcare provider.
- Ask your doctor about folic acid.
- Avoid cigarette smoke and alcohol.
- Eat plenty of fresh produce, but wash it before eating.
- Cut down on packaged foods.
- Limit (to once-weekly) or eliminate consumption of tuna and other oily fish.
- Limit personal care products.
- Reduce exposure to fumes.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st fl oor) in Las Vegas.