The screening tool can be used to diagnose children as young as 16 months old.
Deborah Fein, senior author of the study and a researcher at the University of Connecticut says in the webpronews article:
“Earlier tools cast a wider net, but these refinements will allow health care providers to focus energy where it is needed most and will reduce the number of families who go through additional testing but which ultimately do not need treatment interventions.”
The study found that more children were identified as being autistic when using the revised checklist.
Alice Kau who is a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is reported as saying that the checklist can accurately identify children who are likely to have autism therefore giving them the treatment and support that they need.
She further adds:
“Given that the typical autism diagnosis occurs at age four, it also offers the possibility of detecting autism much earlier – during regular doctor’s visits when a child is 18 months or two years old. And earlier intervention has been shown to improve outcomes for children with autism.”
The original article by Sean Patterson can be read here