NYU Child Study Center Welcomes Dr. Catherine Lord
Diagnosing children with autism at a younger and younger age is the focus of current research by internationally recognized autism expert Catherine Lord, Ph.D. who has recently joined the NYU Child Study Center (CSC) as interim director of the Asperger Institute.
Dr. Lord, a clinical child psychologist who is world renowned for her longitudinal studies of children with autism and for developing autism diagnostic instruments that serve as the universal standard in practice and research, has come to NYU CSC to help set up a research-based clinic, participate in the Center’s resident trainee program, and teach a special class on “Global Autism” in its unique undergraduate minor curriculum at New York University.
“The NYU Child Study Center is honored to have Dr. Lord on board for the next year,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., founder and director of NYU CSC. “She will provide direction for the Asperger Institute while developing its research, training and clinical services, particularly addressing the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in children from toddler to age 8.”
“With children as young as 12 or 15 months, the question is ‘Can you really make a difference?’” said Dr. Lord, who says that interventions at these ages can help to maximize ordinary experiences and affect both children and parents. “We are searching for the earliest ages to make stable diagnoses but also hope that from early awareness and intervention, diagnoses will change as children and parents benefit. The goal is to make meaningful diagnoses and maintain hope as we work with families and young children.”
Glenn Hirsh, M.D., medical director of the NYU Child Study Center, encourages parents to look for the following warning signs for autism in children under 18 months.
· Does not turn when called by name by 12 months
· No pointing by 15 months
· Fewer than a dozen words by 18 months
· Does not enjoy interactive games, like peek-a-boo or looking at a book
· Makes few demands
· Talks or jargons to self without need for a conversational partner
· Concern about comprehension at any age
In the last two decade the number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has risen almost ten-fold. According to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is prevalent, occurring in one out of 150 children. However, there is no evidence to support an autism epidemic. Research has found that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders is higher than previously reported but is not increasing. While it is impossible to rule out a small actual increase in cases of ASD, it is likely that the increase can be accounted for by improved surveillance and a broader definition of the disorder.
Dr. Lord is the Principal Investigator for the Simons Simplex Collection, a genetic repository supported by the Simons Foundation. She was chair of the Early Intervention in Autism Committee at the National Academy of Science. She received the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Lecture Award in 2004 and was a Finalist for the New York University Child Study Center Scientific Achievement Award in 2005.
Dr. Lord received her Ph.D. in psychology and social relations from Harvard University. She has held academic positions at the University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, University of Alberta, the London Medical Research Council Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Harvard University (Children's Hospital) and University of Chicago. Dr. Lord has published extensively on the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Lord will be on sabbatical for the 2008-2009 from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center and the Center for Human Growth and Development, where she is Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Dr. Lord can be reached at the NYU CSC by calling 212-652-1904 or Catherine.Lord@nyumc.org.
About the NYU Child Study Center
New York University Child Study Center is the nation's leading organization for research, prevention and treatment of child and adolescent psychiatric and learning disorders. Through science-based clinical care, cutting-edge research, expert professional training, and extensive public education, the Center strives to generate new knowledge about child mental health, improve the practices of healthcare professionals who serve children, and influence child-related public health policy. Most importantly, the Center provides hope, help and care to children and their families who suffer from these disorders.
The NYU Child Study Center is committed to giving children back their childhood. To learn more, visit AboutOurKids.org.#