Earliest signs of autism

Child Psychologist Allison Kawa, PhD, explains for parents what the earliest signs of autism or other developmental delays are in babies
Earliest Signs of Autism in Babies
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Earliest signs of autism

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When parents look back on their children's early life, after the child's been diagnosed with autism, a lot of times they can recall some early, subtle signs. Those might include a lack of a reciprocal social smile. So for example, when babies are about eight weeks old, when you smile at them they typically smile back. And that's one of the behaviors that we develop that helps us bond to our moms and our dads. Later on as babies develop their motor skills they start playing games like peek-a-boo or patty cake and again those early social games are ways that we can act and bond with our caregivers. When children with autism are babies a lot of times they won't engage in these kinds of behaviors. Later on they might have a failure to develop speech, such as around the age of one year when typically start saying single words. Some babies don't babble as much as they should. These are all early signs that there might be something going on with your child's development.

Child Psychologist Allison Kawa, PhD, explains for parents what the earliest signs of autism or other developmental delays are in babies

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Allison Kawa, PsyD

Child Psychologist

Alison Kawa is a licensed child psychologist specializing in the evaluation of children and adolescents.  Her pre- and post-doctoral training emphasized child and adolescent testing.  She was a fellow in the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic where she acquired extensive training in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and a range of other developmental disorders.  During this time, she also obtained certification from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) on the gold standard instruments (i.e., ADI-R and ADOS) used in autism evaluations.  Following her fellowship, she became Senior Assessor at UCLA where she worked for four years.

Alison completed the PsychoEducational Diagnostic Services Program (PEDS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Assessment at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar.  In this setting, she conducted comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for children and adolescents with a diverse range of issues including ADHD, Learning Disabilities, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.  She also completed the Child Therapy in a School Setting program offered by Phillips Graduate Institute, where she gained training and experience in play therapy, social skills groups, and therapeutic interventions appropriate for adolescents. 

While completing her graduate training in psychology, she held a staff position at Working With Autism, Inc., where she worked individually with children with autism, provided case management and supervision, and developed and implemented a staff-training curriculum.  It was through this position that she acquired a love for teaching and training. In addition to her private practice, she teaches pre- and post-doctoral fellows at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar, where she also works as a supervisor and consultant.

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