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Autism Speaks study finds advances towards universal early screening
Date:1/28/2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 29, 2014) A new study from researchers at Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, shows improvement towards universal early screening for autism. The report, published online today in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, also found that few approaches to early detection, such as screening during well-child visits, were evaluated to understand their impact on early diagnosis and access to services.

The study, which identified and examined 40 previously published studies on programs for early detection of ASD and 35 various approaches, found the need for a multipronged approach in assessing children for autism in order to increase early detection. These findings raise concerns about whether current methods are enough to reduce the average age of autism diagnosis and increase access to high-quality early intervention. Early intervention is crucial for enhancing the development of communication, learning and social skills in children with autism.

"The good news is that we found universal screening for autism risk to be feasible and practical," says lead author Amy Daniels, Autism Speaks assistant director for public health research. "We also see that it seems to work best in the context of a toddler's well-child visits to a pediatrician or family doctor."

However, screening a child for autism is just the first step towards a full diagnostic evaluation and enrollment in early intervention services, Dr. Daniels notes. "We found a considerable lack of follow up on what happens to children who score at high risk for developing autism," she says.

Autism Speaks' researchers found that a limited amount of early-screening studies documented whether children assessed as being "at high risk" of having autism
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Contact: Steffanie Marchese
steffanie.marchese@autismspeaks.org
646-385-8537
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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