According to a recent study, autism-like symptoms can be detected by a brief screening in a pediatrician’s office. Early detection will afford a head start on treating the condition.
While there is currently no complete cure for autism in babies and young children, early detection and therapy have been shown to lessen symptoms. According to Karen Pierce, Assistant Director of the University of California, San Diego’s Autism Center for Excellence, early intervention may be the only chance in “changing that path to having full-blown symptoms.”
In the past, autism has been extremely difficult to detect in children five or younger. The condition, which is characterized by deficiencies in social interaction and communication, often goes undiagnosed until age two or three. Early detection could potentially help identify the underlying neurological processes of the condition.
The study, which has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics, used a five minute 25-question survey to identify Autistic symptoms during a wellness visit for a 12-month old child. Some 10,500 children were screened over the course of the study, 32 of which were diagnosed with an autistic-spectrum disorder.
Of the pediatricians who participated in the study, 96 percent gave it a positive rating, many of whom continue to use it in their practice.