Early Identification

Dr. McLean specializes in infant and toddler and early childhood psychology and provides psychological and developmental evaluations for children from birth to five years of age. Infant and early childhood psychology requires recognition that the first five years in a child’s life represent a distinct developmental stage. It is the most rapid stage of development and most receptive to intervention. Early identification and intervention for developmental delays and disabilities can have a significant impact on improving the quality of a child’s future. In addition when these concerns are not addressed they persist and become magnified in the elementary school years. Comprehensive evaluations for young children address all areas of development including cognitive development, adaptive skills, and social and emotional development.

Dr. McLean is able to evaluate children as young as 18 months for Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASD. Early identification and treatment of ASD are associated with better communication, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes than diagnosis and intervention at later stages of development. When parents are concerned with development it is important to take action. There is a wide range of normal but if there are concerns it is crucial to monitor development and gain as much information as possible. Do not adopt a “wait and see” approach. Many areas of developmental delay and disability can be identified and treated. Waiting puts a child a risk for losing valuable time while the developmental window is open. Trust your instincts even when others do not share your concerns. As the parent you know your child best and a thorough evaluation for autism or other developmental delays can provide invaluable information.

Early Signs of Autism in Babies and Toddlers

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed)
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at
  • Doesn’t respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate
  • Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention
  • Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment
  • Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests

The following delays require immediate attention by a psychologist or developmental pediatrician

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm joyful expressions
  • By 9 months: No back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
  • By 12 months: Lack or response to name
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk”
  • By 16 months: No spoken words
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two word phrases

Do not hesitate to contact us today if you have any concerns about your child’s development.