USPSTF Recommendation on Autism Screening

On February 16, 2016 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a recommendation that screening only be performed for autism if the parent or provider is concerned there is a risk.  This recommnedation is not based on evidence that screening doesn't work but rather the lack of research in tracking children screened who later develop autism.  The Recommendation states "The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children for whom no concerns of ASD have been raised by their parents or a clinician."  Unfortunately, this recommendation goes against all of the efforts made by the Amercian Academy of Pedaitrics and numerous other agencies(including Bright Futures and Learn the Signs. Act Early.) to increase developmental screening across the Nation.  While there is no evidence specific to screening for autism, there is extensive evidence that formal screening for developmental delays (which include delays associated with autism) can indentify children that might otherwise go undetected until a much later age and miss a critical brain development period when early internvetion can have the greatest amount of impact.  If you would like to read the USPSTF recommendations and the AAP or Autism Speaks responses, please click on the links below:

USPSTF Recommendation on Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children: Screening

AAP Statement on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Final Recommendation Statement on Autism Screening 

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

Release Date: 
03/10/2016 - 9:45am