First Signs is dedicated to educating families and professionals about the early signs of autism and related disorders.
Our mission is to ensure the best developmental outcome for every
child by promoting awareness regarding the most important and often
overlooked aspects of development: social, emotional, and communication.
are to improve screening and referral practices and to lower the age
at which young children are identified with autism and related disorders.
Health care providers are the only professionals who
have routine contact with all children prior to school entrance.
Although most healthcare providers recognize the value of early
intervention, they have significant difficulty identifying children with
developmental delays and disorders. An important reason is the
increasing time pressure placed on them to improve productivity. Often,
healthcare providers will not use developmental assessments because they require
more time for observation than allowed; others use them, but choose
measures that are not sensitive enough. Study after study show that 70%
to 80% of children in need of services are not identified by their
primary care provider. Consequently, children often miss all
opportunities for assistance during the most critical time of brain
Key policy statements have been issued by the
American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Pediatrics, and
National Research Council to define guidelines for screening and
diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
Since 2000, First Signs has been providing professionals with tools and training and families with education and support to help young children stay on a healthy developmental path. Through our model programs and website, we have disseminated critical information to hundreds of thousands of professionals and families throughout the world about healthy development, the need for routine screening, how to detect early signs of ASD, and treatment options available.
The First Signs website is copyrighted, 2000-2016, by First Signs,
Inc. All rights reserved. If you find these materials useful, you
may download, print out, or send a copy to others so long as each
copy indicates our copyright notice and is used only for personal
use. It is expressly prohibited, however, to reprint or
electronically reproduce any text, document, graphic, video, or
visual material for bulk or commercial use. For special copyright
permissions, please email us at FirstSigns1@gmail.com.
Copy: Elinor J. Pierce
Design: Andrée Cordella and Brian Dellascio, Cordella Design, Inc.
Selected photography donated by:
Laura Straus, author of
A Child’s World,
Hearst Publications. All rights reserved.
Webmaster: Steve Barnes
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