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Letters to the Editor for Feb.27

Autism resources available locally for Del Norte families

Thank you for the informative article about autism ("More common than thought," Feb. 10). Once considered a rare disorder, the number of children on the autism spectrum is now reaching epidemic proportions. "Learn the Signs, Act Early" is the new campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The CDC states "It's time to change how we view a child's growth ... We naturally think of height and weight, but from birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks and acts. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a developmental problem, even autism."

Parents and caregivers can spot signs of Autism as early as 18 months, along with other developmental concerns. First 5 California sponsored a statewide videoconference on Autism outlining best and promising practices. Among these "best practices" is early screening and Early Intervention. More information from the videoconference is available by visiting www.f5ac.org and clicking on "recent events."

The Del Norte Family Resource Center houses a Parent and Families Resource Library containing books and videos regarding autism and other educational materials. Early Start Connections, a program of Redwood Coast Regional Center, offers resources and support to families of children (ages 0-3) who have, or are at risk of having, developmental difficulties. The Early Start Connections program is offered to families whose children receive Regional Center or School District Early Intervention Services. As parent support coordinator for the Early Start Connections Program, I would be happy to welcome families into the center, discuss concerns, and review available resources.

Amber Gambrall

Crescent City


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