President Rod introduced today’s speaker, Alexis Eggenberger, who is currently the Manager of the Promedica Bixby Center for Autism. Alexis and her husband live in Perrysburg where she grew up. She is a licensed Social Worker and a board certified Behavioral Analyst with an expertise in treating individuals with autism. Accompanying Alexis was Peggy Romano – one of five Behavioral Technicians at the center.
Statistics show that in 2000, one in 166 children were diagnosed with autism. In 2010 the number grew to 1 in 68. Autism affects 1 in 42 boys as opposed to 1 in 189 girls. Autism occurs all over the world, Alexis said, and that there was a 14%-18% chance a family would have a second child with autism. Approximately 46% of children with autism exhibit average to above average IQs. Some 1,200 new children in Michigan are diagnosed with autism each year.
The first signs of autism usually appear within a child’s first three years, often within the first 12 to 18 months. Autism spectrum disorder manifests in countless ways and in many combinations. Every child is different. Communication signals are often the earliest to appear. Children with autism may not make eye contact and may prefer to play alone. Children with autism may also engage in repetitive body movements or display narrow areas of interest.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates one in every 68 children has a form of autism spectrum disorder. There is no medical test (like a blood test) for autism. Your pediatrician will conduct developmental screenings several times in your child’s first two years. If there’s a concern, the next step is a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. The Centers for Disease Control and the Institute of Medicine have reported no link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder.
Autism cannot be cured but it can be treated. Programming focuses on: communication, behavior, play, social skills and life skills appropriate for the child’s developmental level. A child’s program may include: Initial and ongoing evaluations, intensive applied behavior analysis, speech and language services, functional behavior assessments and parent/caregiver training. Alexis concluded her presentation by noting that there are currently 5 behavior technicians ready to serve children with autism at Bixby. Thanks you ladies for a very enlightening and informative presentation!