Age at autism prognosis, first intervention drops to underneath three years | Spectrum
Delayed onset: Many autistic teenagers started interventions before they were diagnosed, whereas now autistic children are usually diagnosed first.
mmpile / iStock
A growing number of autistic children in the United States are diagnosed with the disease before the age of 3, and these diagnoses tend to be made before any intervention or development service, according to a new study based on parenting surveys. Children who crossed the “diagnostic odyssey” of autism a decade ago were typically diagnosed years later, after they began using services.
The analysis included data from 2,303 autistic children, ages 2-17 years old, from the National Survey of Children’s Health, which asks parents questions about the children in their household. The selected participants, divided into three groups according to their age, either had an early intervention plan or had received special benefits to meet developmental needs.
In the oldest children, who were 12 to 17 years old at the time of the survey, the diagnosis was made at an average age of around 5½ years. Your first intervention or development aid took place around the age of 5.
In contrast, the youngest cohort aged 2 to 5 years was diagnosed at around 2½ years of age and began their first intervention or development work at around the same age.
Results are based on parents’ responses to a question: “How old was your child when a doctor or other health care provider first said they had autism?” – the results therefore likely tend to be younger than when the researchers had used clinical diagnoses. Children who had not yet been diagnosed were also left out of the study, which may have increased the average age. Still, the results suggest that the time between getting a diagnosis and using services is getting shorter and shorter.
“Diagnosing children and getting them into service is just a nightmare,” says study researcher Allison Hanley, a postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology at the University of Maryland, College Park.
“There is all this bureaucracy and bureaucracy. When your child is this old you need to go through this system. If your child is older, or you live in this state, or have this health insurance, go through this system, ”says Hanley. “Health care in general is complicated. But from what I’ve seen, this seems to be one of the most confusing processes for parents and families. “
In all three age cohorts, Hispanic children were diagnosed with autism about a year earlier than white children, although other studies have found that black and Hispanic children are less likely to be diagnosed than white children.
Children with pronounced signs of autism were diagnosed, on average, about 16 months earlier than those with more subtle features. And children who went to see a psychiatrist were diagnosed an average of 21 months later than those diagnosed by another specialist. The results were published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health in October.
“The big takeaway from this study is that if we really want to know why these things are taking so long, we need more information,” says Hanley, pointing to potential biases in the study’s survey questions. “The hope is that we can learn things that make the process less of a chore for parents.”
Quote this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/RFET8671