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Autism Speaks responds to Preventive Services Task Force finding on autism screening

Expressing great disappointment in USPSTF failure to recommend universal screening for autism
February 16, 2016

New York, N.Y. (Feb. 16, 2016) Autism starts very early in brain development, and its symptoms can be detected by age 2.  We have a broad consensus, based on research, that early intervention for autism results in better outcomes.Yet to our great disappointment – and against expert counsel – the US Preventive Services Task Force has refused to recommend universal autism screening. Unfortunately, the USPSTF statement risks misleading families – and health insurers – on the value of autism screening for all children.

Universal early screening is highly effective in identifying children who have autism, and early intervention is critical to ensure optimal outcomes for children with autism. 

Autism Speaks – together with the Autism Science Foundation – continues to wholly endorse the Bright Futures guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which call for continuous developmental surveillance and for specific autism screening at 18 months, 24 months and whenever a parent or provider expresses concern.

Also see: "Keeping the 'Grade A' in universal screening for autism," by Autism Speaks Head of Medical Research Paul Wang. 

Screen Your Child,” on the Autism Speaks website, is a free interactive version of the M-CHAT autism screen for toddlers, one of the screening tools recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Fox 5 News interviewed Autism Speaks Director of Public Health Research Michael Rosanoff about the task force's controversial decision and why leading pediatric and autism research groups oppose it.