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JAMA Network Insights
August 7, 2019

What to Tell a Parent Who Worries a Young Child Has Autism

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 2University of Washington Center on Human Development and Disabilities, Seattle
  • 3Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 4Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(10):1092-1093. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1234

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a common neurodevelopmental disability, typically can be diagnosed within the first 3 years of life, usually by age 24 months. The median age of diagnosis in the United States is 4.5 years, which is substantially later than when symptoms emerge.1 Despite increasing public awareness, only 43% of children with ASD receive a comprehensive developmental evaluation by age 3 years.1 Timely detection facilitates access to appropriate developmental and behavioral intervention that, when begun soon after symptom onset, can substantially improve outcomes and reduce parents’ stress.

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