What’s something you hear over and over as being crucial to autism? Early diagnosis— which then leads to early intervention services. Most professionals will agree that the earlier a child is diagnosed with autism and begins therapy, the better. Most parents take their child to an autism specialist for an evaluation, as they feel a health care provider (pediatrician or nurse practitioner) is not trained well enough to be able to give a thorough evaluation. A recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University, led by Amy Swanson, wanted to change this, as they felt training pediatricians in autism can positively improve the diagnosing process.
The study took place over three years, training 27 pediatric providers inTennesseeon how to conduct evaluations for children who screened positive for autism. After the training periods, the skills were tested and evaluated, and the health care providers proved capable of reaching the same diagnostic conclusions as the specialists. This idea of pediatrician training for autism diagnosis will increase the accessibility for parents to have their children evaluated, due to the time sensitivity,
“Given the potentially harmful consequences of lengthy waits for comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, the potential impact of such training programs for advanced autism diagnosis within community practice setting could be quite powerful.” [i]
Dr. Weinstein, Founder and President of ICare4Autism is well-versed on the importance of pediatrician training and autism, as he discussed it at the ICare4Autism Conference, “Autism: An Update on Genetic and Clinical Aspects,” in Haifa,Israel. He suggested the notion that pediatricians must be able to suspect an autism diagnosis as early as possibly, to create a timely treatment plan.
An increase of pediatrician training on autism diagnosis will decrease the wait time parents seem to struggle with when getting their child evaluated, proving beneficial for the children.
[i] “Disability Scoop” Pediatrician Training May Speed Autism Diagnosis. 15 Jul 2013. Web. < http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/07/15/pediatrician-speed-diagnosis/18311/>