The each child study: systematic screening for autism spectrum disorders in a pediatric setting.

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TitleThe each child study: systematic screening for autism spectrum disorders in a pediatric setting.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMiller, JS, Gabrielsen, T, Villalobos, M, Alleman, R, Wahmhoff, N, Carbone, PS, Segura, B
Date Published2011 May
KeywordsChild Development Disorders, Pervasive, Child, Preschool, Early Intervention, Educational, Female, General Practice, Hospitals, Pediatric, Humans, Infant, Male, Mass Screening, Neuropsychological Tests, Parent-Child Relations, Pediatrics, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Referral and Consultation, Risk Assessment, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility and outcome of a systematic autism screening process for all toddlers (aged 14-30 months) in a large, community-based pediatric practice.

METHODS: All toddlers who presented to the clinic during the 6-month screening period were eligible. We used 2 screening questionnaires and allowed physicians to refer directly to capture as many children as possible. Receptionists and medical assistants distributed and collected screening questionnaires; research staff did all scoring and follow-up, either by telephone or in person when indicated.

RESULTS: We obtained a high rate of screening (80% of eligible children). Of the 796 children screened, 3 had already been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD); an additional 10 children who showed signs of early ASD that warranted further evaluation or intervention were identified. Formal screening measures identified more children with ASD than did clinical judgment or caregiver concerns; however, no single method (ie, questionnaire, caregiver concerns, provider concerns) identified all children with signs of early ASD. We had excellent participation from racially and ethnically diverse families, including Spanish-speaking families. Thirty-two percent of the children who were screened did not present for a well-child visit during the study period and were screened at a sick visit, follow-up visit, or injection appointment.

CONCLUSIONS: A partnership between pediatricians and autism specialists resulted in effective, systematic autism screening. Future studies should examine how to create effective systems of care.

Alternate JournalPediatrics
PubMed ID21482605
Grant ListU01DD000068-01 / DD / NCBDD CDC HHS / United States
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