More Screening, Not Less
A new report was released yesterday in the journal Pediatrics that questions the value of uniform early screening for autism spectrum disorders. The premise behind the report titled, “Early Autism Detection: Are We Ready for Routine Screening?” was a desire to evaluate the usefulness of universal screening for infants at 18 to 24 months of age given what is known about the quality of screening tools, the availability of effective treatments, and other considerations.
The authors argue that there have not been enough quality studies comparing screening tools. The availability of effective treatments for those who screened positive is also far from wide or uniform causing the authors to question the value of screening overall.
Autism Speaks remains in support of American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all infants be screened for autism spectrum disorders.
The sense of urgency of our mission to create a world in which suffering because of autism no longer exists demands identification and intervention as early as possible, where we do, in fact, have data for the effectiveness for intervention. Dr. Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks says, “Early intervention has been shown to result in significant increases in cognitive and language abilities and adaptive behavior, allowing children the best chance for a positive outcome.
Instead of closing the door to an opportunity to guide the development of an infant who is headed toward struggles with an atypical development, we must create new opportunities for those infants to thrive. Indeed, the path to obtaining effective treatments that target the unique needs of your child is still shadowy, but it is something to which are bringing light together. Autism Speaks supports research on effective early screening methods as well as finding best ways to deliver interventions that were shown to be effective to all those who need them today.