Autism screening and neurodevelopmental assessment

Sarah J. Spence, Daniel H. Geschwind

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Autism and the related pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) are neuropsychiatric syndromes characterized by abnormalities in social relatedness, verbal and nonverbal communication deficits, and the presence of restricted and stereotyped behaviors and interests. These disorders are unique in that the children are often not diagnosed until years after the symptoms first emerge. The reasons for delay are multiple. Between the wide spectrum of clinical presentations and the changes in the definition and diagnostic criteria over the years-see the third, third-revised, and fourth editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, III-R, and IV)—clinicians who are not very familiar with the spectrum may not recognize the disorder. Also, there is often the fear of imposing an improper label on a child, as well as the hope that the child will “catch up.” And finally, for years there were no uniform guidelines for the workup and evaluation of children with suspected autism spectrum disorders. Yet there is increasing evidence that early intervention can improve outcomes (1-8), so the speed and accuracy with which the diagnosis is made are crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAutism Spectrum Disorders
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780824755164
ISBN (Print)9780824707156
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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