New Guideline Suggestions for Screening for Autism

New Guideline Suggestions for Screening for Autism

Children as young as 14 months can be reliably screened, a new study says.

New parents face multiple joys and challenges. When your child learns to sit up, walk or say their first word, the ripples of pride can flow. Getting your infant to sleep on their own, trying to adequately baby proof the house, and dealing with nighttime wakings though, can seem overwhelmingly difficult. Add to that the feeling that your child may have autism, and the field of despair may widen considerably.

To date, most children in the U.S are screened for the disorder at the ages of 3 or 4 years. A new study has indicated that screening children as early as 14 months, however, could help parents who do turn out to have a child with autism, considerably.

The data, published in JAMA Pediatrics, shows that screening children earlier is reliable.

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“The brain is very plastic during early development,” said Karen Pierce, a professor of neuroscience and co-director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego, to CNN.  

“The frontal cortex in particular — the part of the brain essential for the development of social skills — is making large numbers of connections between brain cells across the first two years of life.”

By catching children with autism earlier, treatment options can be implemented that may be more successful than they would be at an older age. For more on this development, click here.

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