Doctors concerned over U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation

Rockville, Md. —- Earlier this week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) — an independent, government-backed panel of doctors — said in a statement that they found no sufficient evidence to support the universal screening of children aged three years and under for autism.

This statement by the USPSTF raised concerns as numerous doctors worry it could have a negative impact on their already strained efforts to push for early intervention for children on the autism spectrum.

American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Autism Chairwoman Dr. Susan E. Levy told:

“We are concerned that people will then take this further and say well, if there’s no evidence that it’s helpful or that it’s scientifically valid or useful, why should we do it?”

Other doctors fear that the USPSTF recommendation might cause others the miss the chance to get early intervention. According to pediatric neurologist and New Jersey Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health Head Dr. Mark Mintz:

“If this report causes primary care and other providers to stop specific autism screenings, the result is going to be that many infants and children will not be diagnosed between 0 and 3. They’ll miss that opportunity for early intervention.”

The task force said more research needs to be done on universal autism screening, and has urged the public to give their comments on the matter. The forum will be open until Aug. 31.

Source: Karen Shakeredge: Newsworks: Not enough evidence to support autism screening for all kids, expert panel says