New BYU study shows childhood autism often goes undetected by doctors

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jan 12, 2015

PROVO, Utah - A new study on autism published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics, and a BYU researcher is its lead author.

The study, entitled Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation, finds that many medical professionals are missing signs of autism in child patients because time frames for clinical observation are too short to detect the disorder.

The researchers found that in a 10-minute screening, autistic children displayed "typical" behavior 89 percent of the time, and medical specialists failed to detect autism cases 39 percent of the time.

BYU Assistant Professor Terisa Gabrielsen, along with her colleagues, concluded that earlier intervention could potentially change outcomes.

They suggested parents should be more proactive and involved in the autism screening process.

You can read the study in its entirety here.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does provided information on ways children can be screen for autism.

Visit the CDC website here for more information.

Michelle Hiles, spokeswoman for the Autism Council of Utah, released the following statement in regards to the autism study:

Utah has one of the highest incidence rates of autism in the country.  The Autism Council of Utah recently approved a grant to support Terisa Gabrielsen, PhD, NCSP from Brigham Young University, Stacy Shumway Manwaring, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Aaron Fischer, PhD, BCBA, from the University of Utah for this very important early intervention program.  This program will address the importance and implementation of training and support for early identification of autism.   Early Intervention, BYU and University of Utah, the Health Department, Intermountain Health Care, and the new Autism Developmental Clinic will all be involved in this statewide effort to increase autism identification.  The Autism Council of Utah is proud to support such a proactive and innovative approach to improving the lives of the children in Utah. Over the next several months medical providers, early intervention providers  and early childhood educators will be invited to these trainings throughout the state.