A recent study presented in the journal “Autism Research” has made a new revelation regarding the diagnosis of autism in children. The findings have shown that among the children who have autism, twenty-five percent goes undiagnosed.
Making a diagnosis is necessary to improve the quality of life of children who suffer from ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD initiates at early stages of life and leads to developmental and neurological problems.
It affects a person’s learning ability, his actions, and the way he communicates or interacts with other individuals. Because there are a number of symptoms associated with autism, it is termed as a spectrum disorder.
The autistic children appear to be in their own world, they may depict repetitive behaviours, and avoid having communication or eye contact with other individuals.
With each day passing, there is an increase in awareness about this disorder. But despite this change, almost one-fourth of the autistic children, mostly Hispanic or black with age less than eight years aren’t diagnosed.
The Autism Study’s director – Walter Zahorodny has worked with his team in New Jersey to examine the medical records and education of almost 266000 children. These children had an age of less than eight in the year 2014.
The research team had analyzed their data to check what proportion of children had the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder but were not identified clinically or receiving any facilities.
The analysis led to the identification of 4500 children showing signs of autism. Among which only seventy-five percent were clinically diagnosed. These undiagnosed autistic children (mostly Hispanic or black males) weren’t doing well in accordance with their ADLs (activities of daily living), social skills, and mental abilities.
According to study co-author, Zahorodny, there are a number of reasons that may result in this inconsistency. These reasons may include anxiety regarding complex diagnostic procedure, cultural or communication barrier between physicians and parents, or stigma-related concerns.
In addition to this, most of the parents whose children are identified with ASD at a later stage, describe medical or behavioural problems as their biggest concern instead of the developmental problems.
The study director suggests that it is possible to decrease inconsistencies in diagnosis by screening children of different age groups (toddlers, preschool or school-age children). Besides this, using patient navigators or pictures can also facilitate clinicians and parents in avoiding communication barriers.
Both of these can help families in a better understanding of the treatment suggestions, diagnostic procedures, and test results. Moreover, state governments can also play their role in increasing access to care.
States can do so by ensuring that intervention services are provided by the insurance company as soon as a child is found to be at risk of autism instead of waiting until the diagnosis is made by physicians.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was the funding source of the study. The study determines the number of developmental disorders in different states while being led by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.
The states where the prevalence of ASD was investigated using this study include Wisconsin, New Jersey, Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado, and Arkansas.