The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Monday introduced its first new autism treatment guidelines in 12 years geared toward helping doctors identify at-risk children and getting them the care they require as early as possible.
Since developmental delays are frequent in children with autism, the report, printed in the journal Pediatrics, advises doctors to check for issues during all well-baby visits and refer children for treatment at the first sign of a problem, rather than await a formal autism analysis.
Over five million Americans have autism, a spectrum of disorders marked by deficits in social communication and interaction, and repetitive behaviors of broadly varying severity.
Since 2007, when AAP printed its last two steering documents, the number of children in America identified with autism has increased distinctly. Autism now impacts 1 in 59 children in America, up from 1 in 55 in 2007.
In that time, scientists have developed a better understanding of the potential risk elements and genes that add to autism, the related medical and behavioral conditions that generally occur in kids with the condition, and have detailed proof on which interventions work best.
The report urges doctors to guide families toward interventions supported by analysis and away from those with inadequate proof. It specifically calls out many nutritional interventions that “wouldn’t have evidence to support their use.”
It further focuses on the necessity to screen for and treat different conditions that generally occur in kids with autism.
The report encourages doctors to share decision making with households and help them plan for when a child turns to adolescence and adulthood.