Saturday, 14 May 2011

Are children being mis-diagnosed with ASD?

Anyone who knows me well will acknowledge that I get very cross when children are labelled as 'autistic' without a thorough multi-disciplinary assessment. One of the reasons for this, is that there are other issues which lead to children not communicating or not wanting to interact. A language related problem may be the reason or even a delay in all the child's abilities. It was with interest, therefore, that I read about an American study which showed a high incidence of mis-diagnosis in children who were born prematurely as it backs up my idea of gaining ALL the facts before giving the child what is after all, a label for life.

Researchers, led by pediatrician Bonnie E. Stephens, MD, FAAP, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Brown University’s Alpert School of Medicine, hypothesised that many formerly premature infants who screen positive for ASD at 18 months do not have ASD but are having failing scores due to a cognitive or language delay, which is common in 18-month-olds who have been born very prematurely.

For the study, researchers sought to determine the rate of false-positive screens for ASD taken at 18 and 30 months of age and to determine the connection between a positive screen and cognitive and language delay.Stephens and her colleagues are hoping to get funding to support a multi centre study that would include more than 500 children. “This will allow us to determine the true rate of ASD in this population, the rate of false-positive screens at 18 and 30 months, the optimal time to screen, and the optimal ASD screening tool for the extremely preterm population".

Hopefully, this will persuade professionals here to look at the wider factors involved. I want early diagnosis but I want accurate labelling!

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1 comment:

  1. I blame Google.

    I had a mother in yesterday, who has already had her daughter diagnosed with ADHD (misdiagnosed in my opinions - there's no H in that child!) and now says the brother (age 5) is dyslexic, ADHD, ASD, and did I think he could have global learning delay. She'd read it on Google y'see, about like, how all these kids get the wrong diagnosis, and it's got to be right cos she needs it correct on the benefit form.

    I wanted to say..... no...... he's just a naughty child who will grow out of it with proper discipline and boundaries. or, no..... I've never taught him and only seen him twice!

    Bad Google! Bad like Readers Digest Family Health Guide!

    Seriously though, parents need to realise that this is a label for life, not just an excuse for poor behaviour when they are little.