8 responses to “Early diagnosis of autism”

  1. I don’t think I was aware of the prevalence of autism prior to reading this article. I will definitely be more acute to pursing developmental delays in kids. I practice in Alberta so will have to see if there is a similar organization to refer to for assessment.

  2. Good concise review, with information that is easy to follow with logical steps that should fit with most EMRs. The high incidence is surprising. Is it changing, or is diagnosis and case finding becoming more precise?

  3. Excellent summary and list of resources !

  4. Great summary and very practical for autism screening in family practice. Thank you.

  5. I will definitely keep this important diagnosis in mind when examining young toddlers. I appreciate the concise summary and resources to which we can turn when there are suspected cases.

  6. Excellent article. My neighbour, an Autism Consultant, suggests the website http://www.autismcanada.org which is the site for the Autism Canada Foundation. They have a Physician Handbook that you can order for free.

    Apparently in BC, parents can receive funding of $22,000. per year, (for the preschool years) for a child diagnosed with autism, to use for treatment. Therefore, getting the assessment early (which would cost $800. privately) may in fact be economically worthwhile, as the wait-list for provincially funded assessment can be 18 months to 2 years.

    So the parents would lose 1 to 2 years of funding for treatment. As the article says, starting treatment early is clinically very beneficial.

  7. Thanks for nice concise summary . I like to mention also there are other validated instruments as well as such as the STAT that can reliably diagnose autism in toddlers.

  8. Re: Martin’s question: Many of us paediatricians feel there are indeed two separate factors causing apparent increasing prevalence of autism: first, certainly there is more recognition of autism — expansion of diagnostic criteria, more awareness– but second, also the true incidence appears to be increasing. When researching this article, I was surprised to NOT be able to find any actual data to support this second point. In part, it is extraordinarily difficult to accurately separate out and quantify the contributions of these two factors to changing prevalence. So I cannot give an answer supported by data, only an impression that yes, it seems that the true prevalence must be increasing!
    Re: Melodie’s comment: I do agree that getting a private assessment will definitely save time, but the costs are often considerably higher than the $800 mentioned, in my experience.

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