Universal Autism Screening in Young Children Under Question

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog

I wrote the introduction and edited the body of this article based on a Q&A published by Medscape.


Many parents and clinicians are in a bind between conflicting recommendations about autism. Newly issued recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTSF) suggest that current evidence is not strong enough to justify universal screening for the condition in young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics takes an opposite stance and supports such screenings— typically a structured parental survey and short interview about a child’s behavior — for toddlers at 18 and 24 months of age.

How are autism experts weighing in about this conflict? Two experts from the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, David Mandell, ScD, the center’s associate director, and Juhi Pandey, PhD, a pediatric neuropsychologist, participated in a Medscape Q&A to answer many key questions. In their in-depth conversation with the publication, Dr. Mandell and Dr. Pandey discussed the role of early autism screening compared to comprehensive clinical evaluation, as well as the value of early intervention for children who show signs of developmental delay on a screening.

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