Steamboat Springs An autism expert is coming to Steamboat Springs this weekend, the last weekend in National Autism Awareness Month.
Rosemary Cullain of Colorado Training Associates Inc. will perform informal autism screenings from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
She is performing the screenings without charge for families who have questions about potential autistic tendencies in their children.
Cullain can recommend whether parents should pursue follow-up treatment for their children. Cullain's evaluations could prove invaluable to families of autistic children.
A recent study by the Autism Society of America reports that children who receive early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can function more independently as adults. Their support needs may drop as much as two-thirds, the report said.
According to the autism society, more than one million people in the United States have the disorder, which affects how the brain functions and beleaguers communication, sensory skills and social interaction.
Autism, which was once considered uncommon, is popping up in places where cases were once nonexistent.
A 2001 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the disorder affects as many as two to six in every 1,000 people.
Behavior, and not appearance of children with autism and Asperger's, betrays the disorder.
Children do not "grow out" of autism. Many parents believe their children can outgrow the neurological difficulties they are having, said Janna Marxuach-Steur, head of Autism and Aspergers Awareness of Steamboat, an organization working to increase the level of services offered locally to children affected by the disorder.
"There is a serious problem with this line of thought," she said.
Parents who wait for the problem to pass are wasting serious time that could be devoted to treating their children, she said.
That's why she hopes parents take advantage of Cullain's expertise if they have any doubts about their child's behavior.
Families who are interested in the free screenings should contact Janna Marxuach-Steur at 871-1418 to schedule an appointment.