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New Autism Guidelines Released — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 31, 2014

New Autism Guidelines Released

By Kelly Young

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has updated its guidelines on diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder in the pediatric population.

The guidelines, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, recommend the following:

  • Questions about autism symptoms should be routinely included in developmental assessments of young children and psychiatric assessments of all children.

  • In children who screen positive for symptoms, the clinician should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation.

  • A multidisciplinary assessment of children with autism spectrum disorder should include a physical exam, hearing screening, genetic testing, a Wood's lamp exam, communication assessment, and psychological assessment.

  • Clinicians should refer families to appropriate structured educational and behavioral interventions.

  • Drugs may be offered to alleviate specific symptoms or comorbidities.

  • Clinicians should help families with long-term planning.

  • Clinicians should ask about the patient's use of complementary and alternative medicines and explain their potential risks and benefits.

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