Extending its award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign, Autism Speaks today launched the “Maybe” campaign, a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to reach African American and Hispanic parents. According to research, children in these communities are often diagnosed later than the national average. The PSAs, which are being distributed to media outlets nationwide this week, show some of the early signs of autism and encourage parents to take immediate action if their child is not meeting standard developmental milestones. Read a story on the campaign launch from the New York Times.
According to the CDC, the average age of diagnosis is 4-5 years, but a reliable autism diagnosis can be made as early as 18-24 months. While early detection is critical, research shows that many parents have very little knowledge about autism and its symptoms. The current age of diagnosis among low income families, as well as African Americans and Hispanics, is higher than the general public. With appropriate early intervention services from ages 3-5, between 20 percent and 50 percent of children diagnosed with autism will be able to attend mainstream kindergarten.
The new “Maybe” PSAs show parents observing the unusual behavior or non-reaction of their child in seemingly ordinary situations. A child’s lack of eye contact, babbling or big smiles invite parental worry and speculation: “maybe it’s this” or “maybe it’s that.” Showing the subtle presence of potential problems in otherwise everyday instances, the PSAs emphasize that these “maybes” are reasons enough for parents to consult their pediatrician or primary care provider for further screening. The PSAs encourage parents to seek further information about the early signs of autism and additional screening resources at autismspeaks.org/signs and autismspeaks.org/aprende for Spanish information.
Source: Autism Speaks