After an article that discourages routine autism screening appeared online in Pediatrics, coauthor Jan Willem Gorter, MD, PhD, heard an array of heartfelt responses. “Some people were upset, especially parents with a child with autism,” said Gorter, an associate professor of pediatrics in the McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “I also got responses of parents who had a child mislabeled with autism initially, and that had a huge impact on the parents' life and the child's life.”
The study struck an emotional chord by concluding that sound evidence to support routine screening is lacking (Al-Qabandi M et al. Pediatrics. 2011;128:e211-e217). The authors say that currently available autism screening tools have not been evaluated in randomized controlled trials and that treatment is only modestly effective in certain subgroups of children.