On 11/11/16 Dr. Natalie Montfort was the special guest on “Her Sex, Her Health” with Dr. Alexandra Simotas to discuss Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Montfort is a national expert on neurodevelopmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Dr. Montfort is the Director of the Stewart Center at Westview School in Houston. She is licensed as a clinical psychologist in the state of Texas and obtained her PhD after successfully completing advanced coursework in psychology, behavioral sciences, cognitive behavioral therapy, and developmental and diagnostic assessments.
Many listeners called in during the show to speak with Dr. Montfort. She answered questions regarding Asperger syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, the use of sign language as a communication tool in nonverbal children, and the link between environmental and genetic risk factors and increased rates of autism spectrum disorders.
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in young children include: not pointing to express interest, not being able to follow someone else’s point or gaze, inconsistent or lack of response to their name, difficulties with spoken language, difficulties with nonverbal communication, interest in parts of objects rather than the toy or object as a whole, insistence on sameness or routine, unusual responses to usual sensory input, and stereotyped behavior or motor movements. Dr. Montfort noted that there is currently no cure for autism spectrum disorder, and that treatment primarily includes behavioral and educational treatment of symptoms to maximize the individual’s functioning and quality of life. Autism spectrum disorder does not have a definitive cause, and likely involves multiple etiologies.
Dr. Montfort noted there is controversy regarding vaccinations and autism that has caused some parents not to follow the recommended vaccine schedule for their children. However, the scientific literature is clear that vaccines are not a cause of or risk factor for autism spectrum disorder. She states that even after preservatives in question were removed from vaccinations, the incidence of new autism cases continued to rise. She recommended that children be vaccinated according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines.
She also noted that children with autism spectrum disorders are at an increased risk of bullying, physical violence, and sexual abuse. She advised teaching autistic children, even those who are nonverbal, how to indicate when they have been bullied, abused, or assaulted.
The Westview School does accept referrals to assess children who may have learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorders. Please contact our office at 713-973-1842 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain more information. Parents with developmental concerns regarding their children are also advised to speak with their pediatrician and their local early childhood intervention provider or public school, even if the child is not of school age.
The full radio show can be heard here: http://kpft.org/programming/newstalk/sex-health/
The podcast link is: http://simotasmd.com/feed/podcast