Though some health professionals have touted a universal method of detecting autism in early childhood for some time now, experts are divided over benefits of autism screening in all young kids, regardless of the presence of symptoms.
Experts at the Seattle-based U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently reached the conclusion that there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to back the idea that universal screening for autism should be applied for all kids under 30 months as other experts had proposed.
Dr. David Grossman, chief of the task force, believes that each doctor needs to take a decision on their own when it comes to defer such young patients to screening.
“There is no right answer on that,”
said Dr. Grossman.
A study on the new findings was published earlier this week in the journal JAMA.
On the other hand, there are experts who think universal screening of all children between 18 months and 30 months could provide doctors with an opportunity to have a timely intervention.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been on the rise in recent years, while its causes remain largely unknown. Studies had shown that parents or grandparents on the ADS range usually have offspring with autism. While in 2000, only one kid in 150 learned he or she had the disorder, in 2014 one in 68 kids had the condition. But the numbers may be even larger as many cases are either misdiagnosed or go undetected.
A recent CDC study shows that many parents observed ASD symptoms in their kids before age 1. Symptoms were detected even in infants of the age of six months, the study revealed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’s Dr. Benard Dreyer recently underscored the importance of early intervention. He said that screening works, even though other details of the disorder are unknown.
But Dr. Grossman said that his group is not against early screening, which cannot harm children because it involves a set of questions parents need to answer. But the task force is against universal screening because there aren’t any controlled trials to prove that the method indeed helps clinicians diagnose children who would otherwise be sentenced to live with the condition.
While the group thinks that more research needs to be conducted before taking such measures, the AAP’s guidelines tout universal screening for autism of all children under the age of 30 months.