Listening to families: early autism screening

By now you’ve all seen the wave of media coverage about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) two most recent reports on autism.

A national AP article broke the story Monday. Truth is, though, that AAP has been encouraging its membership to conduct early screenings for some time. 

I was reminded, after hearing the stories from the AAP, about one of their own publications: “The Pediatrician’s Role in the Diagnosis and Management of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children.” This 2001 report suggests that “early diagnosis is dependent on listening to the parents’ concerns about their child’s development.”

Their studies showed that most parents were concerned by age 18 months — it took six months for them to seek help, and then when they did – 50% were reassured and told not to worry. The study found that the “usual interval between the parents’ first awareness of a concern and a definitive diagnosis of autism was almost four years.” 

The pediatrician has the greatest opportunity in the first two years of life to screen. But step one in the screening is to listen to families!

That’s where Easter Seals comes in – providing children and adults with autism critical services, treatment, and support.   

Read Scott Fogo’s biography.


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