Early Screening for Autism Urged by Pediatricians (cont.)

"Many parents are interested in CAM treatments such as various vitamin and mineral supplements, chelation therapy, and diet restrictions. It's important for pediatricians to maintain open communication and continue to work with these families even if there is disagreement about treatment choices, " said co-author of the reports Scott M. Myers, MD, FAAP. "At the same time, it's also important to critically evaluate the scientific evidence of effectiveness and risk of harm and convey this information to the families, just as one should for treatment with medication and for non-medical interventions."

Although use of the gluten-free/casein-free diet for children with ASDs is popular, there is little evidence to support or refute this intervention. More studies are in progress, and it is anticipated that these studies will provide substantially more useful information regarding the efficacy of the gluten-free/casein-free diet.

Tantrums, aggressive behaviors, and self-injury are common among children with ASDs, and medical factors may cause or exacerbate these behaviors. Behavior management strategies are often the most effective treatment for challenging behaviors. In some children, medications are effective in addition to the behavioral strategies. The report addresses the medical issues that some children with ASDs encounter such as seizures, gastrointestinal problems, and sleep disturbance, and provides guidance for medication management.

Both reports will also be part of the new AAP practical resource for pediatricians "AUTISM: Caring for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Resource Toolkit for Clinicians," which includes screening and surveillance tools, guideline summary charts, management checklists, developmental checklists, developmental growth charts, early intervention referral forms and tools, sample letters to insurance companies and family handouts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Source: Published withe the permission of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Last Editorial Review: 10/30/2007