Shriver Center autism advocate visits NECN to raise awareness of child development

Oct 03, 2014

NECN Morning Anchor Bridget Blythe & Shriver Center autism advocate Elaine Gabovitch

Shriver Center's Elaine Gabovitch visits NECN to raise awareness of child development

UMass Medical School autism advocate Elaine Gabovitch, MPA, joined New England Cable News on Friday, Oct. 3 to discuss the importance of celebrating and tracking developmental milestones in children. Gabovitch will participate in the "Amazing Me! It's Busy Being Three.” event at the Boston Children’s Museum on Sunday, Oct. 5.

"We really wanted to have parents really thinking about celebrating development with their young children, and one way to do that is by knowing what developmental milestones children should be attaining at certain ages and tracking those milestones," said Gabovitch, family faculty of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at the Eunice Kennedy ShriverCenter, part of UMass Medical School's Commonwealth Medicine division. Gabovitch also holds an appointment as an instructor in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health.

Gabovitch advised parents to pay attention to several areas of developments—from social communication to attention to language—so they can share that progress with their child’s pediatrician. “I think that parents should really relax, enjoy their children’s development, and just get into that conversation with the pediatrician at every visit,” she said.

Sunday’s special event will include family activities, book giveaways and information and hand-outs about developmental milestones. It is in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” public awareness campaign and the Massachusetts Act Early chapter. Gabovitch is the Massachusetts ambassador and state team leader of Act Early, which promotes early diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.

Gabovitch is passionate about increasing the number of children in Massachusetts, and nationally, who receive developmental screenings. She is developing a curriculum to teach pediatricians how to sensitively navigate diverse cultures while screening children for autism spectrum disorders. Children from non-English speaking backgrounds are often identified with developmental concerns later than recommended, or not at all.

Watch the full NECN video: Monitoring "Developmental Milestones" in Kids

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