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Where We Stand: Autism

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages doctors to be aware of the signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and to be on the lookout for these signs during every well-child visit.

At the same time, the Academy urges parents to always let their pediatricians know of any concerns they may have about their child's behavior and development.

Autism-Specific Screening

The AAP recommends autism-specific screening when children are at 18 and 24 months of age; the sooner an intervention program is started, the better. However, children should be evaluated at any age if a parent or professional has concern about the possibility of an ASD.

Early Intervention for Children Ages 0-3

If ASD is suspected or diagnosed, parents should seek a referral for early intervention and local specialists (like speech therapy or behavioral intervention to promote social skills). Early intervention programs are specific for children zero to three years of age.

Intervention for Children Above Age 3

Above the age of three, a referral should be made to your school district. Parents should make an effort to become as familiar as possible with available treatments and programs in their community, and support their child in learning the skills needed to be successful in the least restrictive educational setting.

Additional Information

Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 6th Edition (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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