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Health Dept: Time Lost in Diagnosing Autism in Preschoolers

Created: 04/10/2014 10:33 AM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- New health research suggests there is a large number of Minnesota preschoolers who are living with autism spectrum disorder, and who are also missing out on years of services and support to improve their lives.

The Minnesota Department of Health is urging parents and educators to look for early signs and symptoms of autism.

A research project by the University of Minnesota this year showed that in 2010 the average age of autism diagnosis was about 5, when it's possible a diagnosis could be made around age two.

Researchers say early identification and subsequent action to help kids at an early age can help those with autism spectrum disorder to reach their full potential.

MDH provided some signs and symptoms of autism:

  • Saying no single words by 15 months or no 2-word phrases by 24 months.
  • Resisting snuggling when picked up; arching back instead.
  • Making little or no eye contact.
  • Rocking, spinning , swaying, twirling fingers, or flapping hands.
  • Not crying if in pain or not seeming to have any fear.
  • Being very sensitive or not sensitive at all to smells, sounds, lights, textures, and touch.

The same research study found Minneapolis had a higher rate of autism among 7 to 9 year old than the national average.