A new study on autism was published in the medical journal Pediatrics with the findings that many medical professionals are missing signs of autism in children due to the time frames for clinical observation being too short to detect the disorder. Children with Autism are showing signs of the diagnosis during these short visits however medical specialist s are still not able to detect the signs.
“The researchers found that in a 10-minute screening, children with autism displayed “typical” behaviour 89% of the time, and medical specialists failed to detect autism cases 39% of the time.”
Early detection of the disorder is crucial for a number of allied health disciplines especially speech pathology as early intervention plays an important role in the Childs further communication ability. Early detection also saves the time and resources of the parents and children involved as they avoid being sent back and forth between different health professions. A definite diagnosis in allows for better, individually tailored speech pathology and can increase the success of therapy and the speech at which successful communication is achieved. Michelle Hiles the spokeswoman for the Autism Council of Utah, released this statement regarding the autism study:
“This program will address the importance and implementation of training and support for early identification of autism. Early Intervention, BYU and University of Utah, the Health Department, Intermountain Health Care, and the new Autism Developmental Clinic will all be involved in this effort to increase autism identification. Over the next several months medical providers, early intervention providers and early childhood educators will be invited to these trainings.”
The study is also urging parents to be more proactive and involved in the autism screening process. This is often difficult as many parents have difficulty coming to terms with the diagnosis and are happy to leave a medical professions office without the dreaded diagnosis. The take home message her e however should be that as frightening gas the diagnosis seems, it is just a word and in no way will it change who the child is. Early detection only serves to provide better outcomes for the child and especially in Australia where children with the diagnosis are eligible for free funding from the government, it is in their best interest to know sooner than later.