Children who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and are diagnosed prior to age eight are more likely to receive the services they need to overcome the anxiety, behavioral struggles, and psychosocial deficits associated with the disorder. Early detection, diagnosis and intervention are vital, yet research shows a full one in four children with ASD characteristics do not garner a clinical diagnosis.
Researchers from Rutgers University investigated the medical and education records of 266,000 children across eleven states, looking for those who met evaluation standards for ASD yet did not receive a clinical diagnosis. They focused on children who were eight years of age in 2014, and discovered almost 4500 children with autism behavior and social symptoms. Results published in the online Autism Research journal revealed that 25% of those children were undiagnosed, primarily black or Hispanic boys who had deficits but had not been considered severe enough for pursuit of diagnosis.
How can we put this research discovery to use? Educators, parents, and clinical professionals can become more aware of these kids who might be falling through the cracks. For children who show behavioral and/or social symptoms, it is important to pursue screening and diagnostic testing so that ALL kids with ASD needs can receive the help they need!
By Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy
Check out the original research:
About the author:
Teri Miller is a mom of nine and child development researcher with a Masters of Science in Psychology. She is a Research Associate at Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research, co-host of the podcast Brainy Moms, and the Managing Editor at Modern Brain Journal.