St. Luke's Magic Valley Educates About Autism Spectrum Disorder


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) St. Luke's Magic Valley is offering a free community education seminar to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ASD occurs across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, and is five times more common in boys than girls...

"A lot of people see children with Autism as throwing fits or having behavioral problems, but a lot of kids on the spectrum learn how to work through those and then they're able to function just like everyone else," said Amy Starr, Speech Pathologist, St. Luke’s Magic Valley.

One in sixty–eight children have ASD according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An average that has more than doubled in the last decade.

An upcoming seminar is aimed at raising awareness and educating people about ASD.

"The seminar is a panel of professionals who work with children on the spectrum. That includes a child psychiatrist, a psychologist, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist and a developmental pediatrician," Starr explained.

All five of them will be taking part in roundtable discussions on high interest topics.

"That will include medications, communication needs, sensory processing, and behavior," Starr said.

Speech therapists in particular work very closely with children on the spectrum.

Starr explained, "We work with kids on their social skills as well as their language skills, which are both usually pretty high deficits with children on the spectrum."

Studies have shown that parents of children with ASD notice a developmental problem before their child's first birthday.

"They want others to know what Autism is so people can understand their children, but also be more accepting of their differences,"

On average, children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.

If you think your child might be on the spectrum talk to your family care physician.

And, if you're a parent looking for a support group... Go to Facebook and search Twin Falls Idaho Autism Parent's Support Group.

The free autism today seminar is September 3rd from six to eight in the evening at St. Luke’s Magic Valley.

Call 814-0095 to pre-register.