Significantly Earlier Autism Diagnosis Since AAP Screening Recommendations

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[Source:  Medical News Today]

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Researchers say children with autism who were born before the 2007 recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that all children be screened for the disorder at the 18- and 24-month well child visits were diagnosed significantly later than they are today. The findings suggest the policy may help identify children with autism sooner so they can benefit from early intervention.

An abstract of the study, “Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in an Ethnically Diverse Population Before and after the 2007 AAP Recommendation for Universal Screening,” was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting on May 1, 2016.

Researchers compared two groups of children initially diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between 2003 and 2012 at a university-affiliated developmental center in the Bronx: those born before 2005, a pivotal year because children born then would have been 24 months old when the AAP recommendation was issued, and those born in 2005 or later. They found the average age of diagnosis for those born before 2005 was just under four years old; for those born during or after 2005, it was roughly two-and-a-half years old.

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