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Free autism spectrum disorder screenings scheduled at the Cape Coral library Nov. 18

By Staff | Nov 12, 2011

A free autism spectrum disorder screening will be held at the Cape Coral Library next week for children who are 18 months to 5 years old.

Jamie Hallman, nurse practitioner, said the screenings are made possible due to a collaborative agreement with the Neurosciences Center at the Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile and Collier County services.

This month’s screening will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Cape Coral Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace, on Nov. 18.

Hallman said parents can call to make an appointment at 239-343-6838 or stop by the library the day of the screening.

“We have plenty of room for people to come out,” she said.

Once the parent and child arrives, the parent will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, which can be done in English or Spanish. A short developmental screen will then be provided for the child.

Either Hallman or nurse practitioner Sherri Campbell will go over the questionnaire with the parents.

Hallman said the developmental screen is issued to see how the child interacts socially, along with looking at their language skills.

The screening takes about an hour to complete and does not need a pediatrician referral.

“It does not cost anything,” Hallman said.

She said the screening does not provide a diagnosis of autism but determines if further testing needs to be done.

“Early identification and treatment has the best result for the child’s outcome,” Hallman said.

The program provides parents with the opportunity to have a screening done if they are concerned about their child.

“Parents usually have a really good idea if something is wrong with their child,” Hallman said.

The screening will help identify whether there is something for the parent to be concerned about.

If the results come back positive, Hallman said further testing can be done.

“The best thing for that child is to have early treatment,” she said, if autism is found.

Those treatments include language and behavioral therapy that will better their outcome.

Some of the signs parents should look out for includes language delay with behavioral concerns, which includes lack of personal and social connection with other children and people, as well as displaying routines and odd behaviors.

Hallman said they are starting to pick up on some of the signs of autism for children as young as 18 months old.