News Notes: Homeless Man Rescues Abandoned Baby; New Autism Diagnosis Methods Discovered

Homeless Man Rescues Abandoned Baby

The first abandoned infant safely rescued in 2015 was found on Feb. 8 by a homeless man who heard a baby crying while walking in the parking lot at the Lakewood Mall. The infant girl was found in the grass naked and without a blanket. The man walked the infant to the Lakewood Fire Department, according to officials from the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, or ICAN.

A hospital social worker was contacted and determined that the infant was doing well. The infant was initially thought to be 27 or 28 weeks old, but it has now been determined that the infant is older and is just small; she weighed 4.14 pounds when first discovered.

“Unfortunately, many of the abandoned infants are deceased when they are found, so it is wonderful that this man found the baby and that she is now doing well.”  – Deanne Tilton Durfee

“Unfortunately, many of the abandoned infants are deceased when they are found, so it is wonderful that this man found the baby and that she is now doing well,” said ICAN Executive Director Deanne Tilton Durfee, who is also a First 5 LA Commissioner.  

In addition, there have been two safely surrendered infants in 2015: a female Hispanic surrendered at a Glendale hospital on January 20 and a male Hispanic surrendered at a South Gate fire station on January 27. This brings the total number of safely surrendered infants in Los Angeles County up to 126 since the Safely Surrendered Baby Law went into effect in 2001.

The state of California passed the Safely Surrendered Baby Law to give parents or surrendering adults the choice to legally and safely leave a baby 3 days old or younger with an employee at any L.A.  County hospital or fire station, no questions asked. The parent or guardian may surrender the baby without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. For answers to questions about the law or to learn how to safely surrender a baby, please call 1-877-222-9723 or click here.

Researchers Reveal New Methods for Early Autism Identification in Children

Two recent scientific advances show promise in identifying and diagnosing autism during childhood, and may help enable early screening for the disorder:

  • Virginia Tech has discovered a two-minute brain-imaging test that may be able to aid in the diagnosis of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current diagnosis process – which is typically unquantifiable, time-consuming and based on clinical judgment – could improve dramatically in both time saved and accuracy with this new imaging test. The test demonstrated that perspective-tracking responses can be used to determine whether someone has ASD. Researchers discovered that the brain’s middle cingulate cortex response could be tracked using functional MRI identifying differences in individuals with ASD; the more subdued the response, the more severe the symptoms.
  • Using advanced 3-D imaging and statistical analysis techniques, University of Missouri-Columbia researchers have identified facial measurements in children with autism that may lead to screening tools for young children and provide clues to genetic causes. The technique used a system of cameras to generate dimensional facial images, allowing scientists to measure distances comparatively along the curvature of the face. The process revealed three distinct subgroups of children with autism with similar measurement patterns in their facial features and similarities in the type and severity of their autism symptoms.

Autism is a spectrum of closely-related disorders diagnosed in patients who exhibit a shared core of symptoms, including delays in learning to communicate and interact socially. Early detection of autism in children is considered key for treatment.

First 5 LA has invested in early autism diagnosis in children through a project that focuses on addressing the barriers to early identification and referrals to services faced by families with young children with ASD.

For childhood autism treatment, advocacy and support resources in Los Angeles, contact Autism Society of Los Angeles at 562-804-5556 or Los Angeles Families for Effective Autism Treatment by email at [email protected].

 

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