Autism Screening and Diagnosis

One in 54 children today is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

ASD affects different children in different ways, but generally results in repetitive behaviors and significant difficulties with communication skills and social abilities.

Usually diagnosed by age 4 (and even as early as 12 months), the disorder is screened for with the help of an in-depth questionnaire for parents about a toddler’s behavior and skills, in combination with observations by specialists. ASD screenings are recommended at 18 months and 24 months of age.

Worried About Your Child’s Development?

If you are concerned about your child’s development in any of these areas, talk to the healthcare provider. Research shows that when parents suspect something is amiss with their child’s development, they're usually right.

If your child’s healthcare provider notes that your toddler seems socially withdrawn or doesn't make eye contact with others, she may recommend that he be screened for autism.

That may seem overly cautious, but if ASD is a possibility, early intervention is key. The sooner autism is diagnosed, the sooner intervention and treatment can begin.

A screening can produce information and guidance whether an autism diagnosis is the result or not.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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