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An article on autism screening by Terisa Gabrielsen of the McKay School of Education and other researchers was named one of the top 10 articles of 2020 by the influential journal Pediatrics. Gabrielsen and her coauthors studied the effectiveness of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), the standard autism screening survey completed by parents of toddlers at well-child visits.
The authors found that although a double screening for autism—at 18 and 24 months—is most effective at identifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, these screenings are administered inconsistently. While 73 percent of the 36,223 children studied were screened once, only 54 percent were screened twice. Hispanic children were less likely to be screened at all.
Early diagnosis is critical to getting interventions in place for children with ASD. The authors wrote, “Further work [should] be done to encourage providers to complete screens as recommended, with more efforts to screen Hispanic children.”