Early Screening for Autism Urged by Pediatricians

Below is a news release on a press briefing at the 2007 National Conference and Exhibition (NCE) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Co-authors Chris Johnson, MD, MEd, FAAP, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Scott Myers, MD, FAAP, neurodevelopmental pediatrician at the Janet Weis Children's Hospital/Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania, will present the new AAP clinical reports, "Identification and Evaluation of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders" and "Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders" on Monday, October 29, at 10:00 a.m. (PT) in Hall E of the Moscone Center.

Andy Shih, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for Autism Speaks, will join Drs. Johnson and Myers for the press briefing.

For Release: Monday, October 29, 2007 12:01 am ET

NEW AAP REPORTS HELP PEDIATRICIANS IDENTIFY AND MANAGE AUTISM EARLIER

SAN FRANCISCO - Two new clinical reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help pediatricians recognize autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) earlier and guide families to effective interventions, which will ultimately improve the lives of children with ASDs and their families. The first clinical report, "Identification and Evaluation of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders," provides detailed information on signs and symptoms so pediatricians can recognize and assess ASDs in their patients. Language delays usually prompt parents to raise concerns to their child's pediatrician - usually around 18 months of age. However, there are earlier subtle signs that if detected could lead to earlier diagnosis. These include:

  • not turning when the parent says the baby's name;
  • not turning to look when the parent points says, "Look at..." and not pointing themselves to show parents an interesting object or event;
  • lack of back and forth babbling;
  • smiling late; and
  • failure to make eye contact with people.