Early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is essential to ensure that children can access specialized evidence-based interventions that can help to optimize long-term outcomes. Early identification also helps shorten the stressful “diagnostic odyssey” that many families experience before diagnosis. There have been important advances in research into the early development of ASDs, incorporating prospective designs and new technologies aimed at more precisely delineating the early emergence of ASD. Thus, an updated review of the state of the science of early identification of ASD was needed to inform best practice. These issues were the focus of a multidisciplinary panel of clinical practitioners and researchers who completed a literature review and reached consensus on current evidence addressing the question “What are the earliest signs and symptoms of ASD in children aged ≤24 months that can be used for early identification?” Summary statements address current knowledge on early signs of ASD, potential contributions and limitations of prospective research with high-risk infants, and priorities for promoting the incorporation of this knowledge into clinical practice and future research.
Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recommendations for Practice and Research
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Dr Zwaigenbaum was the site Principal Investigator of a study sponsored by SynapDx (he received operating funds but no honoraria). Drs Fein and Robins are co-owners of M-CHAT, LLC, which licenses use of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers in electronic products. Dr Stone is the author of the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year-Olds and receives a share of royalties from sales of this instrument. The authors received an honorarium as well as travel expenses from Autism Forum for contributing to the expert panels.
Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Margaret L. Bauman, Wendy L. Stone, Nurit Yirmiya, Annette Estes, Robin L. Hansen, James C. McPartland, Marvin R. Natowicz, Roula Choueiri, Deborah Fein, Connie Kasari, Karen Pierce, Timothy Buie, Alice Carter, Patricia A. Davis, Doreen Granpeesheh, Zoe Mailloux, Craig Newschaffer, Diana Robins, Susanne Smith Roley, Sheldon Wagner, Amy Wetherby; Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recommendations for Practice and Research. Pediatrics October 2015; 136 (Supplement_1): S10–S40. 10.1542/peds.2014-3667C
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