"It is natural to worry about your child's development. Parents bring concerns to the pediatrician, and while pediatricians know how children should be developing, visits are brief -- and there is a tremendous amount to cover and juggle during that visit," said Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist Nerissa Bauer, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she is part of the Children's Health Services Research group.
"Autism isn't like strep throat where you can do a quick throat swab and then have a diagnosis. Autism is a behavioral diagnosis and can look very different depending on the child. Some behaviors are subtle, especially early on. CHICA prompts parents to think about whether they have concerns about certain health risks, such as autism, which makes it easier for the doctor to focus on key issues during a hectic visit."
Dr. Bauer, the study's first author, is a behavioral pediatrician and health services researcher.
National guidelines call for pediatricians to screen children for autism at 18 and at 24 months, but many physicians find it difficult to fit this into a busy appointment that also calls for vaccinations and other screenings. Screening allows pediatricians to then refer the child for further evaluation to clarify the diagnosis and to community providers who can work with the child and family when a child has delays in development.
"What's important here is that CHICA will help pediatricians identify autism earlier when treatment is more likely to be effective," said Stephen M. Downs, M.D., M.S., Jean and Jerry Bepko Professor of Pediatrics and director of Children's Health Serv
|Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen|