Monday, 5 October 2015

The ASQ-3 and autism screening: has the UK already started?

'Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?' was the research question posed and partially answered in the paper by Sarah Hardy and colleagues [1] recently.

Drawing on data from a very healthy sized cohort (~2800 toddlers) who were "screened with the ASQ-3 [Ages and Stages Questionnaire] and M-CHAT-R across 20 pediatric sites" in the United States, researchers suggested that there may be more to see when it comes to the use of ASQ-3 and the complicated topic of early autism screening.

These are interesting if preliminary results. As many parents here in Blighty might have recently realised, there have been some changes to the health visitor visits that accompany raising young children in this day and age. The introduction of the ASQ-3 to the Healthy Child Programme this year (2015) represents a bit of a departure from sole reliance on the PCHR as a means of logging developmental milestones and other information.

Assuming that the Hardy results can be replicated, particularly the idea that: "Scores below the "monitor" cutoff on the Communication domain of the ASQ-3 can indicate initial concern requiring autism-specific follow-up", one wonders whether the UK Government might have just knowingly (or unknowingly) initiated a mass autism screening program?

Music: James Morrison - Demons.

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[1] Hardy S. et al. Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism? J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2015 Sep;36(7):536-43. 

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ResearchBlogging.org Hardy S, Haisley L, Manning C, & Fein D (2015). Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism? Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 36 (7), 536-43 PMID: 26348972