To reduce the average age of autism diagnosis, screen preschoolers in primary care

Katharine E. Zuckerman, Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, R. Christopher Sheldrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends autism spectrum disorder screening at the 18- and 24-month well-child visits. However, despite widespread toddler screening, many children are not diagnosed until school age, and delayed diagnosis is more common among low-income and minority children. Offering autism spectrum disorder screening at preschool well-child checks might reduce disparities and lower the overall age of diagnosis and service initiation. However, screening tools that span the preschool ages and are tailored for primary care are needed. Lay abstract: Pediatric primary care providers check for autism signs, usually using a standard checklist, at 18- and 24-month well-child visits. When the checklist shows possible autism, children should be referred for additional treatment and evaluation with an autism specialist. However, many children with autism spectrum disorder are not detected as toddlers. Low-income and minority children are particularly likely to have a late autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Checking for autism at preschool-aged well-child visits might be one way to identify autism spectrum disorder earlier, especially for low-income and minority children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-596
Number of pages4
JournalAutism
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorders
  • preschool children
  • primary care
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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