Author(s): Camarata S
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Abstract Over the past decade, there has been increased interest in identifying autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in toddlers. Although there is a strong rationale for identifying ASD early and delivering effective intervention, a recent report in the journal Pediatrics raises important questions about the scientific evidence currently available supporting early intervention. In addition, the British National Health Service (NHS) has not adopted universal screening for autism, even though the American (US) Academy of Pediatrics endorsed a recommendation that all toddlers be screened for ASD by the age of 24 months (in 2007). The goal of this initiative is to identify and, where indicated, provide early intervention for autism and ASD. Although it is inarguable that this is a worthwhile and laudable goal, the systematic study of this goal is confounded by the inherent difficulty in reliably identifying autism in 24-month-old toddlers. It is challenging to demonstrate intervention effects in the absence of randomly assigned control groups in an increasingly heterogeneous ASD population. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current literature on early identification and early intervention in autism and ASD and to provide a framework for examining these issues.
This article was published in Int J Speech Lang Pathol
and referenced in Alternative & Integrative Medicine