Autism spectrum disorder screening and management practices among general pediatric providers
ABSTRACT It is unclear to what extent general developmental/behavioral assessments are performed, if screening for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is being conducted, and what the barriers to providing such assessments are in routine pediatric practice. Therefore, this study examines (1) the factors influencing the use of general developmental and autism-specific screening tools in primary care pediatric practice, (2) the barriers to providing these assessments, and (3) pediatricians' beliefs regarding ASD prevalence. A cross-sectional survey was mailed in June 2004 to a 60% (n = 1119) random sample of Maryland and Delaware licensed pediatricians. In August 2004, a second mailing was sent to non-respondents. A total of 471 (42%) of the surveys were returned, and of those, 255 (54%) who practiced in general primary care were eligible. The sample was 47% male, 69% had more than 14 years' experience, 71% were in private practices, and 56% had fewer than 10 ASD patients. Most (82%) routinely screened for general developmental delays, but only 8% screened for ASD. The main reasons reported for not screening for ASD were lack of familiarity with tools (62%), referred to a specialist (47%), or not enough time (32%). Most specialist referrals (77%) were to a developmental pediatrician. Most pediatricians (71%) believed that ASD prevalence has increased, and nearly all attributed this to changes in diagnostic criteria and treatment. Service system limitations must be overcome to increase awareness and familiarity with screening tools, provide sufficient time and resources, improve screening, and enhance provider education.
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ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a set of neurodevelopmental disorders that is among the most severe in terms of prevalence, morbidity and impact to the society. It is characterized by complex behavioral phenotype and deficits in both social and cognitive functions. Although the exact cause of ASD is still not known, the main findings emphasize the role of genetic and environmental factors in the development of autistic behavior. Environmental factors are also likely to interact with the genetic profile and cause aberrant changes in brain growth, neuronal development, and functional connectivity. The past few years have seen an increase in the prevalence of ASD, as a result of enhanced clinical tests and diagnostic tools. Despite growing evidence for the involvement of endogenous biomarkers in the pathophysiology of ASD, early detection of this disorder remains a big challenge. This paper describes the main behavioral and cognitive features of ASD, as well as the symptoms that differentiate autism from other developmental disorders. An attempt will be made to integrate all the available evidence which point to reduced brain connectivity, mirror neurons deficits, and inhibition-excitation imbalance in individuals with ASD. Finally, this review discusses the main factors involved in the pathophysiology of ASD, and illustrates some of the most important markers used for the diagnosis of this debilitating disorder. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.International journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience 04/2015; 43. DOI:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.04.003 · 2.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies suggest over half of children with autism are using complementary alternative medicine (CAM). In this study, physicians responded (n = 539, 19% response rate) to a survey regarding CAM use in children with autism. Physicians encouraged multi-vitamins (49%), essential fatty acids (25%), melatonin (25%) and probiotics (19%) and discouraged withholding immunizations (76%), chelation (61%), anti-infectives (57%), delaying immunizations (55%) and secretin (43%). Physicians encouraging CAM were more likely to desire CAM training, inquire about CAM use, be female, be younger, and report greater autism visits, autism education and CAM knowledge. Physicians were more likely to desire CAM training, inquire about CAM and view CAM as a challenge for children with autism compared to children with other neurodevelopmental and chronic/complex conditions.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 04/2009; 39(7):996-1005. DOI:10.1007/s10803-009-0714-7 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study examined (1) the distribution of ethnic minorities among children referred to autism institutions and (2) referral bias in pediatric assessment of autism in ethnic minorities. It showed that compared to the known community prevalence, ethnic minorities were under-represented among 712 children referred to autism institutions. In addition, pediatricians (n = 81) more often referred to autism when judging clinical vignettes of European majority cases (Dutch) than vignettes including non-European minority cases (Moroccan or Turkish). However, when asked explicitly for ratings of the probability of autism, the effect of ethnic background on autism diagnosis disappeared. We conclude that the use of structured ratings may decrease the likelihood of ethnic bias in diagnostic decisions of autism.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 08/2008; 39(1):142-8. DOI:10.1007/s10803-008-0611-5 · 3.34 Impact Factor