14 October 2019

Positive screen for autism often does not spur further evaluation

This research reviewed electronic medical records for well visits in the Texas Children’s Hospital network from 2014 to 2016 to investigate if children flagged by doctors as requiring specialist assessment for autism received these assessments. More than two-thirds of toddlers flagged for autism at doctor visits did not get assessed for the condition by specialists. Of those who were assessed, nearly 60 percent of the children flagged by screening were diagnosed with developmental delays or language disorders. It was unclear why the referral rates for specialist assessment were so low, but it was concerning as early diagnosis and intervention for autism and other developmental disorders is important to improve children's outcomes.