Editorial |

Looking Ahead to Even More Discoveries in Autism Spectrum Disorder While Addressing Current Needs

David J. Schonfeld, MD; Patty Manning-Courtney, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(4):412-413. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.4.356.
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The articles in this special issue of the ARCHIVES illustrate the impressive progress that has been made during the past 15 years in our understanding of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their impact. Several articles address the issue of screening for ASD, a concept that was almost nonexistent 15 years ago. While Nadig et al1 find that a failure to respond to one's name by 12 months, though highly suggestive of developmental abnormalities, is not sufficiently sensitive or specific to warrant its use as a screening tool by itself; other research, though, has demonstrated that screening in a primary care setting is feasible given currently available instruments. Stone and associates2 remind us of the need to closely monitor the development of younger siblings of children with ASD because of the elevated risk of deficits in early social-communicative development among these siblings. However, Dietz et al3 report what pediatricians already know to be true, that a considerable proportion of families of children who screen positive for a possible ASD will either delay seeking further evaluation or will not follow through on such recommendations.

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