ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Autism - Editorials
Autism: A Medical Primer - Article
ABSTRACT: Autistic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder resulting in social, language, or sensorimotor deficits, occurs in approximately seven of 10,000 persons. Early detection and intervention significantly improve outcome, with about one third of autistic persons achieving some degree of independent living. Indications for developmental evaluation include no babbling, pointing, or use of other gestures by 12 months of age, no single words by 16 months of age, no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age, and loss of previously learned language or social skills at any age. The differential diagnosis includes other psychiatric and pervasive developmental disorders, deafness, and profound hearing loss. Autism is frequently associated with fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, and may be caused by lead poisoning and metabolic disorders. Common comorbidities include mental retardation, seizure disorder, and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Behavior modification programs are helpful and are usually administered by multidisciplinary teams, targeted medication is used to address behavior concerns. Many different treatment approaches can be used, some of which are unproven and have little scientific support. Parents may be encouraged to investigate national resources and local support networks.
Primary Care for Children with Autism - Article
ABSTRACT: The earliest sign of autism in children is the delayed attainment of social skill milestones, including joint attention, social orienting, and pretend play. Language impairment is a common, but less specific, sign of autism. Repetitive behaviors and restricted interests may not be noted until after social skill and communication impairments are exhibited. Physicians should perform developmental surveillance at all well-child visits, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends administering an autism-specific screening tool at the 18- and 24-month visits. A referral for comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is appropriate if concerns arise from surveillance, screening, or parental observations. The goals of long-term management are to maximize functional independence and community engagement, minimize maladaptive behaviors, and provide family and caregiver support. Physicians play an important role in coordinating care through an interdisciplinary team; referring families for specialized services; and treating children's associated conditions, including sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Autism is a lifelong condition, but early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment can improve the prognosis, whereas associated medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, and intellectual disability can worsen the prognosis.