On Monday, April 2, during National Autism Awareness Month, Aspiranet, one of California's largest and most innovative social service agencies, launched a new online tool designed to help parents screen their children for behaviors often associated
April 2, 2012 (Newswire) - (SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - On Monday, April 2, during National Autism Awareness Month, Aspiranet, one of California's largest and most innovative social service agencies, launched a new online tool designed to help parents screen their children for behaviors often associated with autism.
The online questionnaire, accessed at www.aspiranetffsn.org/quiz, consists of a series of age-related true or false questions. The screening tool was created by Sheri Reynolds, Aspiranet's director of family-focused support programs and one of the country's leading youth autism therapy experts, to help parents quickly assess the concerning behaviors that may signify autism and then, based on the results, seek a more thorough evaluation if necessary.
Autism diagnoses in the U.S. have increased tenfold over the past decade and, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average of one out of every 110 children is impacted by the disease. Autism is widely considered to be a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
"Early diagnosis and immediate intervention are critical when working with children on the autism spectrum," said Reynolds. "We hope this new online tool will give parents the ability to evaluate if their child may be exhibiting autistic behaviors and empower them to seek professional help when needed."
Symptoms of autism vary greatly and may include poor social skills, speech delays, emotional and often aggressive outbursts and repetitive movements, like rocking or flapping. Unfortunately, medical physicians may not always recognize autism-related behavior patterns and the disorder is often misdiagnosed.
Aspiranet is dedicated to educating the public about this growing health epidemic and to arming impacted families with strategies they can use to help maintain happy, stable households. The organization's Family Focused Support Network (FFSN) provides intensive case management, in-home behavioral services and counseling to assist families and children who are challenged by autism and other developmental disabilities.
FFSN services are provided in Alameda, Contra Costa Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Solano Counties and currently serve approximately 170 families. Aspiranet's three-member FFSN team focuses on improving parent-child communications and building strong healthy family relationships. Rather than using a child-only approach, Aspiranet focuses on helping the entire family.
Aspiranet, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity, supports foster children, siblings, families, and the community with 35 core programs offering specialized services through 45 satellite centers within California.
Founded 35 years ago as a six-bed group home for young boys in Moss Beach, Calif., Aspiranet is one of the most diverse nonprofit social service agencies in the state. With a statewide network of innovative services, Aspiranet has touched the lives of over 10,000 families and children since its founding.
Aspiranet's vision of bringing families together and helping foster children, siblings, and parents thrive is realized through six areas of expertise - Family Services, Foster Care, Adoption, Education, Afterschool programs, and Community Partnerships. For more information, please visit www.aspiranet.org.