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Expert calls for national autism infant screening programme

An autism expert is calling on the UK government to fund a national baby screening programme to detect brain developmental disabilities.

Stella Acquarone, child psychologist and adult psychotherapist, has worked with almost 5,000 infants with behavioural and emotional issues.

She wants the government to pay for the treatment of preautistic behaviour in infants and the training of professionals to spot early signs of autism in childhood.

"We are hopeful that the government will eventually respond to the benefits and wisdom of early intervention offered by the unique 'window of opportunity' in the 0-3 age group," she says.

"We would very much like to make the services of the Parent Infant Clinic available on the NHS with Local Authority funding."

In the UK, autism is not usually diagnosed until at least the age of two and a half years.

Pre-autistic behaviour can be detected in babies who display bonding difficulties, do not make eye contact, withdraw from touch, do not respond to their parent's voice or do not make babbling noises.

Stella Acquarone concludes: "My message is: catch autism early, treat it early!"

International Pre-Autistic Network

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