PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 

Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

Daily Newscasts

1 in 150 ID Children – Autism Awareness Month

April 22, 2008

Boise, ID – The Autism Center for Idaho says one child in every 150 in the state has some form of autism. Acccording to the Center, the disorder is more common in boys, with a diagnosis rate of about one in 95.

The medical director of the Program for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dr. Rolanda Maxim, says that while there is still no medical cure for the condition, early diagnosis and therapy can make a big difference for a child's future. She says there are clues at six months of age that something is not right.

"When you look in their eyes, they will not sustain that eye contact. A very important sign is when you call their name, they will not turn, they act almost deaf."

Dr. Maxim says some doctors are reluctant to diagnose a baby with an autism disorder. She says however that if parents notice red flags, they should push for therapy.

"The research has shown that early diagnosis will improve outcomes, and it makes sense because we know that communication and language develop primarily in the first years of life."

Dr. Maxim says a five-year federal research project is trying to isolate the causes of autism, which she suspects are related to environmental factors and genetics. Childhood vaccines are an environmental factor that some parents of children with autism believe is a trigger, though any such connection has not been established.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - ID