Sunday, June 16, 2024

BLACK TO LIFE… FOR A HEALTHIER YOU: Understanding autism

By Dr. Annette Mayes

Dr. Annette Mayes

April is Autism Awareness Month, bringing us all an opportunity to learn more about this complex, often misunderstood developmental disability.

Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is a neurological disorder that interferes with communication and social interaction skills.

Experts believe that autism first presents itself during the first three years of a child’s life. Among African-American children, it is often diagnosed up to an average of two years later than their white counterparts — a disparity that researchers normally attribute to socioeconomic, medical, educational and cultural differences.

Children born with autism may exhibit such signs as a lack of social and speaking skills, unpredictable learning habits and irritation with physical contact. They often find noises unpleasant and shocking, may display repetitive behaviors and sometimes suffer from physical tics and obsessions.

For expectant mothers, good prenatal care is an important factor in lowering the risk of having a child with autism. If you have persistent fevers, contract influenza or take antibiotics during pregnancy, some research suggests that your unborn child may be at greater risk for autism, while other experts have disputed some of those findings.

As with most health concerns, it is important for expectant parents to remain diligent with checkups for themselves and their children. That always serves as the best course of preventive action.

For information about examinations, please contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care offices at (702) 522-9640, or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (first floor) in Las Vegas.

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