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April 2016

Rigid, Inflexible Approach Results in No Recommendation for Autism Screening

Author Affiliations
  • 1Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • 2New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
  • 3Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York
  • 4Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Portland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(4):327-328. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0143

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a recommendation on screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).1 In truth, this was a non-recommendation that stands in stark contrast to clinician groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, that recommend systematic screening for ASD at ages 18 and 24 months.2 Finding insufficient evidence that screening for ASD changes outcomes in 18- to 30-month-old children, the USPSTF landed in a gray zone of neither supporting nor opposing screening. Instead, they deferred decision making to families and clinicians.