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Autism is a common developmental disorder, but it can be difficult to identify in a young child.

Increasingly, physicians have been called upon to perform routine autism screenings. All autism spectrum disorders are defined by deficits in three core areas1:

social skills communication behavior and interests In 2000, a recent practice parameter from the American Academy of Neurology, which was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, called for the routine screening of all children for autism.

"Autism is a common disorder of childhood. Yet, it often remains unrecognized and undiagnosed until or after late preschool age because appropriate tools for routine developmental screening and screening specifically for autism have not been available. Early identification of children with autism and intensive, early intervention during the toddler and preschool years improves outcome for most young children with autism. (Abstract of Practice parameter: Screening and diagnosis of autism. Neurology 2000, 55: 468-79.)