Detecting, studying, and treating autism early: the one-year well-baby check-up approach

J Pediatr. 2011 Sep;159(3):458-465.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.02.036. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Objectives: To determine the feasibility of implementing a broadband screen at the 1-year check-up to detect cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), language delay (LD), and developmental delay (DD).

Study design: The Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler Checklist was distributed at every 1-year pediatric check-up; 137 pediatricians and 225 infants participated. Screens were scored immediately, and failures referred for further evaluation.

Results: Pediatricians screened 10 479 infants at the 1-year check-up; 184 infants who failed the screen were evaluated and tracked. To date, 32 infants received a provisional or final diagnosis of ASD, 56 of LD, nine of DD, and 36 of "other." Five infants who initially tested positive for ASD no longer met criteria at follow-up. The remainder of the sample was false positive results. Positive predictive value was estimated to be .75.

Conclusions: The 1-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach shows promise as a simple mechanism to detect cases of ASD, LD, and DD at 1 year. This procedure offers an alternative to the baby sibling design as a mechanism to study autism prospectively, the results of which will enrich our understanding of autism at an early age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • California
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Early Diagnosis
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mass Screening*
  • Pediatrics
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires