Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Summary:
A five-minute checklist that parents can fill out in pediatrician waiting rooms may someday help in the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study. The study's design also provides a model for developing a network of pediatricians to adopt such a change to their practice.

A five-minute checklist that parents can fill out in pediatrician waiting rooms may someday help in the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Published in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study's design also provides a model for developing a network of pediatricians to adopt such a change to their practice.

"Beyond this exciting proof of concept, such a screening program would answer parents' concerns about their child's possible ASD symptoms earlier and with more confidence than has ever been done before," noted Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of NIH.

Identifying autism at an early age allows children to start treatment sooner, which can greatly improve their later development and learning. However, many studies show a significant delay between the time parents first report concerns about their child's behavior and the eventual ASD diagnosis, with some children not receiving a diagnosis until well after they've started school.

Recognizing the need to improve early ASD screening, Karen Pierce, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues established a network of 137 pediatricians across San Diego County. Following an hour-long educational seminar, the pediatricians screened all infants at their 1-year, well-baby check-up using the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler Checklist, a brief questionnaire that detects ASD, language delay, and developmental delay. The questionnaire asks caregivers about a child's use of eye gaze, sounds, words, gestures, objects and other forms of age-appropriate communication. Any child who failed the screen was referred for further testing and was re-evaluated every six months until age 3.

Out of 10,479 infants screened, 32 were identified as having ASD. After excluding for late onset and regression cases, this is consistent with current rates that would be expected at 12 months, according to the researchers. When including those identified as having language delay, developmental delay, or some other form of delay, the brief screen provided an accurate diagnosis 75 percent of the time.

Following the screen, all toddlers diagnosed with ASD or developmental delay and 89 percent of those with language delay were referred for behavioral therapy. On average, these children were referred for treatment around age 17 months. For comparison, a 2009 study using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, on average, children currently receive an ASD diagnosis around 5.7 years (68.4 months) of age, with treatment beginning sometime later.

In addition to tracking infant outcomes, the researchers also surveyed the participating pediatricians. Prior to the study, few of the doctors had been screening infants systematically for ASD. After the study, 96 percent of the pediatricians rated the program positively, and 100 percent of the practices have continued using the screening tool.

"In the context of a virtual lack of universal screening at 12 months, this program is one that could be adopted by any pediatric office, at virtually no cost, and can aid in the identification of children with true developmental delays," said Dr. Pierce.

The researchers note that future studies should seek to further validate and refine this screening tool, track children until a much older age, and assess barriers to treatment follow up.

This study was also supported by an NIMH Autism Center of Excellence grant as well as Autism Speaks and the Organization for Autism Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pierce K, Carter C, Weinfeld M, Desmond J, Hazin R, Bjork R, Gallagher N. Catching, Studying, and Treating Autism Early: The 1-Yr Well-Baby Check-Up Approach. Journal of Pediatrics, 2011

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428065610.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. (2011, April 28). Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428065610.htm
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428065610.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins