Study: Start autism screening as early as 14 months

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National News

April 30, 2019 - 10:26 AM

Dr. Karen Pierce, UC San Diego Autism Center. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SAN DIEGO — Children with autism spectrum disorder can be reliably diagnosed as young as 14 months, according to a study by University of California, San Diego autism researchers. If results are confirmed by independent research, this would be the earliest age this has proven feasible.

Earlier detection means earlier treatment, which should improve outcomes, said Karen Pierce, co-director of the UCSD Autism Center for Excellence. Pierce led the study with Eric Courchesne, the center’s other co-director.

Autism screening should be first done at 18 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of diagnosis in the U.S. is 4 years.

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