Does your child:
Source: Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley
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In Kathy Schrock's mind, the earlier autism is diagnosed,
For Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region, that means
reaching out to toddlers while many other diagnostic clinics in the
Chicago area won't see a child before 3.
"We know that a diagnosis can occur at 2, that intervention is
really critical in those first years of life," says Schrock, vice
president of clinical services at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox
River. "More and more of the research is saying that you can
absolutely identify at 18 months, 24 months, and then you can begin
As autism rates continue to climb-now at one in 88 children and
one in 54 for boys, according to a new study by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention-demand for diagnosis and treatment
has never been greater.
Schrock, who has been in the field 35 years, says in the last
six years, Easter Seals has gone from serving just a few kids with
autism to now almost 40 percent of the kids it serves having
To meet that demand, Easter Seals recently opened an Autism
Diagnostic Clinic that will focus primarily on very young children,
though specialists will see kids up to age 10 or 12, she says.
While Easter Seals has always provided diagnostic evaluations
for infants and kids, until now, a child with suspected autism had
to go elsewhere for a diagnosis and then return to Easter Seals for
"That didn't make a lot of sense to us," Schrock says.
Schrock says Easter Seals has expertise in young children and,
unlike many other diagnostics clinics, provides the ongoing
The Easter Seals clinic team includes a psychologist, social
worker, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist
who work together on the diagnosis and treatment plan. The team
also can call upon a nutritionist, audiologist, feeding specialist
and others as needed, she says.
An autism diagnosis doesn't mean the child is lost forever, she
"We've learned a lot of about kids with autism and how to relate
them and understand them, and then help them grow and develop so
they can be successful in school, in their community and their
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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