Thursday, April 28, 2011

Autism Symptom Check-list

There is now a simply test you can take on-line that may help you decide whether your child needs to be screened for autism. The point is not to scare parents, it's to detect the developmental disorder early. Research shows the earlier autism symptoms are treated, the more advanced the child will become. I just hope the check list doesn't lead to parents being super paranoid! Please keep in mind a third of the parents who got alarming results later found out their kids were just fine.

FROM NBC: A simple questionnaire can detect very subtle signs of autism as early as 12 months. And some doctors suspect widespread use of the check-list might catch as many as half of all autism cases. Some babies are chatting up a storm by age 1. Others haven't really bothered. Yet -- they might all fall well within what's considered "normal."

But doctors who specialize in autism say they frequently hear this from parents:
Dr. Karen Pierce/University of California-San Diego: "I went to my pediatrician and said, 'please help I think something is wrong'. And the pediatrician said, 'well let's wait and see'." That "wait and see" approach seems reasonable when you consider that wide range of "normal." But those who do have a serious communication delay or full-blown autism often aren't diagnosed until at least age two or three.

Dr. Max Wiznitzer - Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital-Cleveland: "That means we've wasted time during which brain development might be positively affected by intervention." Now intervention may come much earlier when children are flagged with a simple check-list at their 12-month doctor's visit.
DR. Karen Pierce- University of California,-San Diego: "Their social behavior is just very subtly starting to become derailed."

Dr. Karen Pierce of the University of California-San Diego looked at the effect of surveying parents about their babies' communication and language skills at their 1-year check-up.
Dr. Karen Pierce - University of California-San Diego: "The screen just says something is wrong -- it doesn't tell you what is wrong. Doesn't tell you what you should do." Of more than 10-thousand babies -- 184 failed the screening and were sent to a specialist. A quarter turned out to be just fine.

But 75-percent either had a significant delay or were later diagnosed with autism. Those who needed treatment were able to start at around 18 months.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer - Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital-Cleveland: "This is a well-designed study that succinctly and concisely address their specific question: can we use this checklist to screen for autism and other developmental disorders? And they did it." Now the push is to get more doctors to use the check-list at the 1-year mark. So kids can stay on track. Here's the check-list. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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