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Similarly, the American Academy of Child And Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)’s practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of autism recommended neuropsychological testing only when the clinical context indicates that it may be helpful.Psychological testing is recommended in the AACAP practice parameter to assess for cognitive and intellectual functioning, in order to determine eligibility and plan for educational and other services.
Recommended instruments for parental interviews include the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, Parent Interview for Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test–Stage 3, and Autism Diagnostic Interview–Revised.Current screening methods may not identify children with milder variants of autism, those without mental retardation or language delay, such as verbal individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder, or older children, adolescents, and young adults.There are relatively few appropriately sensitive and specific autism screening tools for infants and toddlers, and this continues to be the current focus of many research centers.Dissociations between simple and complex processing are reported in the areas of language, memory, executive function, motor function, reading, mathematics, and perspective-taking.However, there is no reported evidence that confirms or excludes a diagnosis of autism based on these cognitive patterns alone.Mental retardation (IQ less than 70) is associated with 70 % of cases of autism and seizures with 33 % of cases.
Furthermore, the recurrence risk for siblings is about 3 to 5 %, corresponding to an incidence 75 times greater than that in the general population.Diagnosis and treatment of ASD may involve a variety of tools.Developmental screening, usually performed during a routine well child exam, identifies atypical (unusual) behaviors such as social, interactive and communicative behaviors that are delayed, abnormal or absent.The Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) for 18-month-old infants, and the Autism Screening Questionnaire for children 4 years of age and older, have been validated on large populations of children.However, it should be noted that the CHAT is less sensitive to milder symptoms of autism, as children later diagnosed with PDD-NOS, Asperger’s, or atypical autism did not yield positive results on the CHAT at 18 months.Autism and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may be suspected by the following symptoms: any loss of any language or social skills at any age; no 2-word spontaneous (not just echolalic) phrases by 24 months; no babbling by 12 months; no gesturing (e.g., pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months; or no single words by 16 months.