A 5-min checklist may help docs detect autism in 1-year-olds

April 29th, 2011 - 3:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 29 (ANI): A simple five-minute checklist completed by parents in a pediatrician’s waiting room may soon become a standard tool to detect autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants when they are just 1-year-old, according to a new study.

The method, developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, demonstrates feasibility and effectiveness of conducting systematic screening during well-baby check-ups.

Starting treatment of ASD sooner can greatly improve children’s later development and learning.

However, many studies show a significant delay between the time parents first report concerns about their child’s behaviour and the eventual ASD diagnosis, with some children not receiving a diagnosis until well after they’ve started school.

Recognizing the need to improve early ASD screening, Karen Pierce and colleagues established a network of 137 pediatricians across San Diego County.

The pediatricians screened all infants at their one-year, well-baby check-up using the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler Checklist, a brief questionnaire that detects ASD, language delay, and developmental delay.

Out of 10,479 infants screened, 32 were identified as having ASD. After excluding for late onset and regression cases, this is consistent with current rates that would be expected at 12 months, according to the researchers.

When including those identified as having language delay, developmental delay, or some other form of delay, the brief screen provided an accurate diagnosis 75 percent of the time.

Following the screen, all toddlers diagnosed with ASD or developmental delay and 89 percent of those with language delay were referred for behavioural therapy.

The study has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics. (ANI)

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