Editorial Perspective: The autism waitlist crisis and remembering what families need

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2021 Feb;62(2):140-142. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13254. Epub 2020 May 8.


Differential diagnosis of autism is very complex. Best practice guidelines in the US encourage the use of specialized tools by a highly trained provider. The need for this comprehensive evaluation, coupled with the increase in autism prevalence and awareness, has led to alarmingly long wait times for diagnostic evaluations. Several solutions are currently being researched to remedy this problem and relieve the pressure, including testing new devices or procedures that can speed up the diagnostic process. Creative solutions are welcomed; however, we urge caution in the use of new devices and methods without being fully vetted. Moreover, a quality assessment provides much more than just a designation of whether or not autism is present. Thus, even in cases when alternative means could be used to more quickly arrive at a diagnosis, a comprehensive assessment with a trained clinician is needed to guide recommendations and ongoing care.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Prevalence
  • Waiting Lists