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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, autism advocacy groups and researchers have all drawn attention to the importance of the early detection of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to make access to early intervention possible. The scientific literature indicates that the average age of ASD diagnosis is 4 years, despite the fact that about half of children with this neurodevelopmental disorder may be detected by age 14 months.
The AAP recommends that ASD-specific screeners be administered within pediatric practices beginning at age 18 months. However, these screeners are imperfect and often require parents to provide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to questions about the presence of certain behaviors. Yet ASD-related behaviors often present inconsistently, and are intermixed with behaviors seen in typically-developing children. In addition, ASD-related behaviors often differ from typical development in quality, not just in quantity.
To improve recognition of the early signs of ASD among pediatricians, parents, and early intervention providers, autism researcher Dr. Rebecca Landa of Kennedy Krieger Institute has developed this free 9-minute video tutorial on ASD behavioral signs in one-year-olds. The tutorial consists of six video clips comparing toddlers who show no signs of ASD to toddlers who show early signs of ASD. Each video is presented with voice-over explaining how the specific behaviors exhibited by the child, as they occur on screen, are either indicative of ASD or typical child development.
Dr. Rebecca Landa is the director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders. The videos and information presented within this tutorial were obtained through her research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, focused on early markers of autism spectrum disorders and early developmental characteristics of children with and without ASD.