Screening for autism is available for babies - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Screening for autism is available for babies

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--Screening for autism is available for babies. One in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism and 1/70 are boys. Screening that can be done for infants helps detect the early signs of the disorder and it gives doctors and therapists a better chance to fix it. 

On Tuesday we stopped by the Responding to Autism Center in Kennewick. They're the only place in Tri-Cities that provides screening for children as young as 18 months. Center Director Christine Lindgren says "we're able to recognize signs and characteristics or red flags of autism very early on and early intervention is extremely important."

The autism center works with hundreds of families in the area. Experts evaluate a child's interaction by using specific toys to see how the children play. Lindgren says "the three main deficits of autism are lack of communication, social interaction and repetitive behaviors."

These signs can even be noticed in infants. After the screening counselors can refer families to specific doctors or pediatricians for additional help. Parent Nicole Wise says "its really taken the stress away as far as getting our diagnosis and understanding autism. It can be really confusing and a hard path."

By screening children younger it gives families a better chance to help rehabilitate the child's communication skills faster, with socialization and therapy classes. The center even works with schools to offer special learning to help students who have autism. They also do screening for adults who may also have the disorder.

Funding for the autism center is provided by the Carson Kolzig Foundation. It allows families to only pay $25 for autism screening and in some cases services can be free.