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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Argument for Screening

Only about half of U.S. pediatricians regularly perform the recommended tests to look for developmental delays in infants and young children, a new study suggests.
The study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that the number of pediatricians who routinely did the screening tests had doubled between 2002 and 2009.
But that still meant that by 2009, only 48 percent were doing these tests regularly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and some other medical groups recommend that doctors use standardized tests for spotting possible developmental delays in babies and young children.
A previous post included an argument against routine screening. Geri Dawson writes at the Autism Speaks blog:

Last week, a paper was published in Pediatrics that argued against the routine screening for autism by pediatricians. Three investigators who are part of the Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium and I submitted a letter to the editor in response to this paper, which has now been published. The link to the original article and the letter are provided below. Our letter provides a strong rationale and empirical evidence to support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that all children be screened for autism at their 18 and 24 month checkups.

This exchange highlights the important role of the scientific research in directly influencing policy and clinical practice. We were able to cite research, much of which was conducted by Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium investigators, to counter the inaccurate statements by the authors of the Pediatrics paper.

Read the letter, Why it is important that screening for autism be provided in routine pediatric care, here. The original paper is available here.