Clinical assessment and management of toddlers with suspected autism spectrum disorder: Insights from studies of high-risk infants

Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Susan Bryson, Catherine Lord, Sally J Rogers, Alice Carter, Leslie Carver, Kasia Chawarska, John Constantino, Geraldine Dawson, Karen Dobkins, Deborah Fein, Jana Iverson, Ami Klin, Rebecca Landa, Daniel Messinger, Sally J Ozonoff, Marian Sigman, Wendy Stone, Helen Tager-Flusberg, Nurit Yirmiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

241 Scopus citations

Abstract

With increased public awareness of the early signs and recent American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that all 18- and 24-month-olds be screened for autism spectrum disorders, there is an increasing need for diagnostic assessment of very young children. However, unique challenges exist in applying current diagnostic guidelines for autism spectrum disorders to children under the age of 2 years. In this article, we address challenges related to early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in this age group. We provide a comprehensive review of findings from recent studies on the early development of children with autism spectrum disorders, summarizing current knowledge on early signs of autism spectrum disorders, the screening properties of early detection tools, and current best practice for diagnostic assessment of autism spectrum disorders before 2 years of age. We also outline principles of effective intervention for children under the age of 2 with suspected/confirmed autism spectrum disorders. It is hoped that ongoing studies will provide an even stronger foundation for evidence-based diagnostic and intervention approaches for this critically important age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1383-1391
Number of pages9
JournalPediatrics
Volume123
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Child development
  • Early detection
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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