Doctors Group Calls for Universal Autism Screening

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There are new guidelines being issued by the Academy of Pediatrics to focus on early intervention for children whom have autism. The new guidelines dictate that all infants be screened twice by the age of two. The guidelines will be published in the journal Pediatrics and available on the web at http://www.aap.org. The new plan urges pediatricians and parents to watch for signs of autism, signs such as failure to make eye contact, no verbal babbling, or motor-smiling late in the developmental process.

Personally, as a new mother, I find this to be great information on signs to look for in screening my child for autism. The monitoring can start at home with the participation of the child’s guardian. As Dr. Scott Myers, a pediatrician specializing in neurodevelopment, mentioned, “…if you recognize it earlier, you get them into treatment earlier. Kids who start (treatment) earlier do better in the long run.”

The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

The need for early diagnosis and intervention in children with the disorders was highlighted in two reports issued at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting here and published simultaneously in the November issue of Pediatrics.
The reports focused on identification and evaluation of children with the disorders and on subsequent clinical management.

“In addition to recommending early recognition so that we can intervene early and hopefully prevent outcomes, these reports provide the guidance for longitudinal medical care, because these are chronic conditions and there are a lot of issues facing the physician in the office when providing care for these children,” said co-author Scott M. Myers, M.D., of the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.

The report on identification and evaluation of autism spectrum disorders noted that media attention has raised parental awareness about autism spectrum disorders. As a result, parents may come in to the pediatrician’s or primary care practitioner’s office with concerns earlier in the child’s development than they might have in the past. That, the report said, presents clinicians with both opportunities and challenges.

Click here to read the entire article from Medpage Today

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