Did you know every year, more than one million young children with unidentified disabilities—including autism—enter school with learning and health issues that put them far behind their peers and have a lasting, negative effect on their ability to meet their full potential? When kids get the right treatment and therapy they need before the age of five, they are ready to learn alongside their peers, build lifelong skills and achieve their dreams.
“Early diagnosis and access to effective treatment is critical for children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).” says Patricia Wright, Ph.D., MPH, National Director of Autism Services, Easter Seals.
Through Make the First Five Count, Easter Seals is raising awareness of and advocating for early detection and early intervention services for kids who may be at risk for autism, developmental delays or other disabilities. Easter Seals serves more than 16,000 individuals with autism, up from 5,000 three years ago. Make the First Five Count is helping individuals with autism get the care, guidance and support they need—when they need it most.
Monitor Their Milestones
Earlier detection gives children that critical window of opportunity and access to early intervention and treatment. Easter Seals is working to get the average age of diagnosis close to where it should be, at age two. Through the generous support of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Easter Seals is offering free access to the Ages and Stages Questionnaires® by Brookes Publishing. The online screening tool helps parents and caregivers monitor a child’s development. All parents and caregivers are highly encouraged to go to MaketheFirstFiveCount.org and complete the online screening tool.
Easter Seals Washington has recently been selected to operate Lifespan Respite Washington, a coordinated network of respite services developed in communities to serve caregivers statewide. Lifespan Respite Washington, encompassing what some call “cradle to grave” support for individuals in need, helps caregivers balance their lives with occasional relief from caregiving. “Lifespan” covers care for elders, adults over the age of 18 with disabilities, children under 18 with disabilities, and vulnerable children at risk of family separation or abuse/neglect. Visit Lifespan Respite Washington to learn more.
We are committed to providing a diverse, inclusive environment where parents can be sure their children are well cared for and will be encouraged to reach their full potential. We support the needs of children of all abilities. Read more about Easter Seals Children Services here.
Easter Seals Programs
Children and adults with disabilities and other special needs find the highest-quality services designed to meet their individual needs when they come to Easter Seals Washington. Our mission is accomplished through the core programs and services in Washington state. Click here to learn more!