- November 28th 2011
There isn't enough sound, scientific evidence to justify physicians routinely screening young children for autism, a study published online June 13 in Pediatrics concludes.
After evaluating literature on the topic, researchers determined that autism screening programs have not been studied in randomized, controlled trials in a way that other community wide screening programs, such as breast cancer screening, have been examined.
Autism screening often involves questionnaires. For example, in the commonly used Social Communication Questionnaire, parents answer yes/no questions that help physicians evaluate whether a child may have autism. Study authors said autism screening tests such as these are not accurate enough to justify a populationwide screening program.
"That is, they aren't good enough to accurately detect children who have autism or to accurately detect those who don't," said Jan Willem Gorter, MD, PhD, a study author and an associate professor of pediatrics at McMas [Read more]