The Search for a Biomarker for Early Autism Diagnosis
“It’s very important to screen for autism early,” Dr. Dawson mentioned. “We have research that suggests that parents are quite good at noting that a child is not behaving normally, and it’s important to get children diagnoses.”
The gold customary for prognosis is to have the kid evaluated by consultants in habits and growth. Dr. Susan Levy, a developmental pediatrician on the Center for Autism Research on the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia mentioned, “Right now, unfortunately the average age of diagnosis according to the C.D.C. is around 4 or a little bit older. The hope is to get it closer to 2.” Diagnosis is at the moment made clinically, after a household has waited out what might be a very long time on a ready checklist.
“Diagnosis is made by a really good history of what the child’s development has been like in the different streams of development, language, motor,” she mentioned. The specialist additionally observes the kid immediately: “We look closely at social skills, at how they respond to their name, are they using eye contact to find out about others’ thoughts, are they using language to communicate, do they have any repetitive or unusual behaviors?”
The evaluation additionally must look fastidiously at any repetitive behaviors, she mentioned, and ideally could contain a group of specifically skilled observers with experience in speech and language and occupational remedy.
And then, for youngsters whose growth and habits are regarding, there should be complicated conversations with the dad and mom. “We talk about where their skills are now, how their development may differ, what makes it harder for them,” Dr. Levy mentioned. “About what their strengths and weaknesses are and what characteristics they have that are consistent with the criteria for having an autism spectrum disorder.”
The youthful they’re, she mentioned, the tougher it’s to foretell what their trajectories could also be, though, after all, the youthful they’re, the higher the hope of adjusting these trajectories for the higher. And that may imply that the household wants to ascertain a powerful relationship with the individuals who will work with the kid.
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon or a triathlon,” Dr. Levy mentioned. “It’s important to find providers you’re comfortable with, who are not promising quick fixes — there are no quick fixes for a family with a diagnosis of autism.”