On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines for the first time in 12 years.
The report focuses on early screening and intervention.
Along with pediatricians, it says parents play a big role in spotting and reporting early signs.
Autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed as early as 18 months, but services can start before a formal diagnosis.
The guidelines also address the need to prepare adolescents for high school and adulthood.
The AAP recommends that pediatricians:
-Conduct developmental and behavioral surveillance during all well visits with children, developmental screening at the 9-, 18-, and 30-month visits, and standardized screening of patients for autism spectrum disorder at 18 and 24 months old.
-Help ensure that children with autism spectrum disorder are provided with evidence-based services to address social, academic and behavioral needs at home and school, with access to appropriate pediatric and mental health care, respite services and leisure activities.
-Engage with families and youth to plan a transition to the adult system of medical and behavioral care.
-Inform patients and families about the evidence for interventions, refer families for possible participation in clinical research and refer families to support organizations.
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