Early Signs and Symptoms

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines recommend screening for ASD in all children at 18 and 24 months as a complement to the general developmental screening of children at 9, 18, and 30 months.4 However, caregivers often report developmental concerns to pediatricians starting at 14 months.5

The number of specialty providers with specific autism expertise is limited.6,7 And, diagnosis can be difficult because of the wide range of autism symptoms and severity.8,9 However, pediatricians report that with the right support they feel confident and equipped in diagnosing ASD.10,11 Currently, primary care physicians are the first to screen children for developmental delays and refer those with suspected delays to specialists (including developmental pediatricians, child psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and pediatric neurologists) for diagnosis and prescribed intervention.12,13