USPSTF recommendation on autism screening leaves parents even more confused

Doctor 001Rockville, Md. — After concluding with its recommendation on autism spectrum disorder screening this week, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) seemed to have left parents and families even more confused on the matter than they were ever before.

The USPSTF recommendation seemed undecided on whether there was sufficient basis— based on autism researches they have reviewed— for parents to have their children aged three and under continue screening for autism.

Michelle Schneider, a mother of a four-year-old with autism, said she’s not pleased with the USPSTF recommendation. She told:

“The inaction ultimately fails doctors, parents and most of all, it fails children, because children are going to fall through the cracks. These kids start showing signs at various ages between birth and 6, 7, 8-years-old and beyond…”

In an interview with ABC’s KVUE, Baylor Scott & White in Round Rock Pediatrics Medical Director Bradley Berg, M.D. said that although he follows the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics— which basically suggests that all children under three years of age should be screened for autism— he can see why the USPSTF is hesitant about making the same recommendation.

“They found that the screening tools we have are not all accurate. They only pick up about 50 percent of the autism kids to begin with, and parents and doctors can usually key on those same indicators strictly from early behavioral patterns.”

Parents like Schneider are worried, however, that the USPSTF recommendation could result to more damage than merely confusion.

According to Schneider, what’s even more concerning is its impact on insurance issues— saying that more problems will arise if insurance firms won’t cover testing costs for children beyond three years old.

Source: Jim Bergamo: KVUE: Opinions conflict on whether doctors should repeatedly test youth for autism