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Screen All Children for Autism

By Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks

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 carehere. The original paper is available here.

  1. June 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

    More and more research is indicating that the brain can be changed, even in those with autism and and other neuro-behavioral disorder. Early intervention is key for these children, and routine screening can help!
    Brain Balance
    Where Every Kids Connects with Success

  2. Sarah
    June 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I adore you Dr. Dawson, Dr. Fein, Dr. Rogers and Dr. Zwaigenbaum.

    Thank you.

    These people are idiots and a clearly beholden to a socialist system that doesn’t want to pay for anything – in the short term. Why should they care about the future budgets of the ministries that have to deal with adults? It won’t be on their tally.

  3. Janice Miller
    June 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I think the focus on good health should set the priorities for screening.

    Why not screen for inflammation, repeated infections from sinus area to the gut, failure to improve health after multiple vaccines, and become aware of the spectrum of pain that inhibits development that results in a spectrum of autism.

    Children who are in pain display limitations of social function and cognitive skills. If a child has a lack of social skills, it should be a signal that a child is dealing with physical infection, inflammation, or blockages that can be repaired and treated.

    No amount of ABA will encourage development when a child’s body is trying to rid itself of inflammation, infections, and insults from the environment. It is abusive to children to expect them to understand and accept pain as a way of coping with inflammation and infections. It is also abusive to provide a social skill program to a child, while ignoring the silent suffering. No wonder behavior programs fail to help development without medical intervention to reduce the pain.

    Why is it acceptable as normal for a child diagnosed with autism to have multiple unexplained infections, diarrhea, constipation, allergies, rashes, etc.? Why focus on language and social skills when a child cannot breathe through his nose with constantly dripping mucus or cannot eat or normally move his bowels because his intestines are bloated and raw?

    BUT if the body is allowed to heal, language and social skills are able to be developed. Keep screening simple and help children with the obvious pain.

    We were blessed with doctors who knew nothing about autism, but knew how to arrest and treat inflammation, infections, and physical blockages that prevented normal perception by the senses (vision, hearing, and touch). When the pain is gone, it is a pleasure to learn and develop and live.

  4. karen cornell
    June 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    blows my mind!!!!!!! Thank god at !8 months, I had questions and my doctor sent me to the right people!!!!!!!

  5. elise baucum
    July 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    the doctors needed to do research like this 20 yrs ago.

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