Federal Panel Determines that Evidence is Insufficient for Universal ASD Screening
Last week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced its final recommendation statement on "Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children," stating 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." The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine convened by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Task Force press release states that the USPSTF is not for or against autism screening, but rather recommends that more research be done on its costs and benefits. In the meantime, the Task Force recommends that clinicians "use their clinical judgment to decide if screening children without overt signs and symptoms is appropriate for the population in their care." For more information about the USPSTF recommendation and how it was reached, click here. See also this story from Kaiser Health News and this story from Disability Scoop.
Bright Futures and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommend specific screening for autism at 18 and 24 months of age, and whenever a parent or provider expresses concern. The CDC recommends autism-specific screening at 18, 24 and 30 months of age. See https://brightfutures.org/development/early/overview_screening.html.
Related: This story from the Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline publication discusses the variability of private and public autism benefits across states.