Autism spectrum disorder early screening practices: a survey of physicians

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Self, Trisha L.
Parham, Douglas F.
Rajagopalan, Jagadeesh

Self, Trisha L.; Parham, Douglas F.; Rajagopalan, Jagadeesh. 2015. Autism spectrum disorder early screening practices: a survey of physicians. Communication Disorders Quarterly, vol. 36:no. 4:pp 195-207


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement in 2007 urging physicians to screen for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 18 and 24 months. This study sought to identify the screening practices of pediatricians and family physicians (FPs) in following the AAP guidelines for ASD. A survey was mailed to 1,500 pediatricians and FPs in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. A total of 481 participants (32%) returned surveys. Results revealed 66 (17%) of the respondents routinely screened for ASD according to AAP guidelines and 162 (41%) respondents screened for ASD but did not follow the guidelines. Pediatricians were more likely to screen for ASD than were FPs. Respondents' pre-professional education in ASD was significantly associated with their tendency to routinely screen and be confident identifying warning signs of ASD. When physicians administer ASD-specific screenings and identify early signs, they can put children and families on the right path for receiving desperately needed services.

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