Childhood screening for autism begins as early as a child’s first check-up, according to a report this month from KFox14, released in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that children benefit most from intervention at 18 to 24 months. Screening for developmental and behavioral challenges includes a 23-point questionnaire called Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - or M-Chat - which is filled out by parents. The questionnaire focuses on language delays and behavior, and helps parents assess the next steps, such as additional genetic, neurological, and developmental testing, for children with developmental and behavioral issues.
In its report, KFox14 noted numerous social symptoms of autism defined by the AAP, including limited or no eye contact, ignoring a parent’s smile or other facial expressions, lack of empathy, and an inability to maintain friendships, among many other traits. Communication challenges, such as speech delays until 16 months, reluctance to communicate, and repeating what others say without understanding it, can also be symptomatic of autism. Behavioral symptoms include spinning, swaying, and hand flapping, as well as heightened sensitivity to sound, textures, light, and touch.
KFox14 points that out that positive screening for autism does not equal a diagnosis, and that even children who screen positively for autism may never be diagnosed. Parents seeking more information should visit: