In past blogs, I have discussed Ryan’s diagnosis in 2005 at 18 months of age. Ryan had expressive language delays at 12 months, which I had discussed with his pediatrician, but as he was “on par” in his overall developmental skills, I never thought “autism.”
Instead, I enrolled him in a language play group. It was a few months later after testing by an audiologist (his aunt), that she recommended that “Uncle Joe,” a pediatrician/pediatric neurologist, evaluate him. And so Ryan received diagnosis of Autism.
So jump forward 15 years until today. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines as to the early diagnosis/treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as comorbid or co-occurring conditions through adulthood. Included in the report is a discussion of family support. The previous AAP publication was in 2007. In those 12 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of ASD to 1 in 59 children.
AAP continues to recommend screening at 9, 18 and 30 months with ongoing surveillance performed by pediatricians/primary care providers through school age. Special consideration should be given to children who have risk factors such as older siblings with autism, preterm birth, and children who have been exposed to teratogens such as valproic acid.
The AAP also endorsed the plan of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the National Institute of Health to improve research efforts to better understand the origins of the disorder as well as clinical trials to test novel treatment strategies. I found it interesting that the AAP also now focused on the importance of preparing youth and families for transition to Adult services. I concur wholeheartedly with this goal. I remember when Ryan was 10 years old and Uncle Joe said, “It’s time to plan for transition.”
In conclusion, there were no “earthshaking” findings, but a continued emphasis on the early, intense, and family-driven treatment of Autism.
Yes, we have come a long way since 2007, but it is a journey that we must continue. The article in its entirety can be found at: https://www.medpagetoday.com/pediatrics/autism/83898?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2019-12-16&eun=g419639d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Headlines%20Top%20Cat%20HeC%20%202019-12-16&utm_term=NL_Daily_DHE_dual-gmail-definition