24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Resources
Basic Information
Introduction to Disorders of ChildhoodIntellectual DisabilitiesMotor Skills DisordersLearning DisordersCommunication DisordersAutism and Pervasive Developmental DisordersADHD and Disruptive Behavior DisordersFeeding and Elimination DisordersAnxiety DisordersReactive Attachment DisorderStereotypic Movement DisorderTic DisordersInfancy, Childhood or Adolescence, Not Otherwise Specified
Latest News
Young Adults With Autism Need Help Managing Money: StudyAutism Greatly Boosts Kids' Injury Risk, Especially for DrowningCould a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?Delayed Development ID'd in Five Brain Regions of ADHD PatientsExperimental Test Can Spot Autism in InfancyBrain Differences Hint at Why Autism Is More Common in MalesFor Kids, Regular Exercise Seems to Put Depression on the RunMicrobiota Transfer Therapy Could Help Children With AutismKids With ADHD Make 6.1 Million Doctor Visits a Year in U.S.: CDCPhysical Activity Predicts Depression in Middle ChildhoodU.S. Families Spend 1.5 Billion Hours Yearly on Kids With Special Health NeedsDown Syndrome May Not Be Big Financial Burden on FamiliesClinical Antecedents of Adolescent-Onset MDD IdentifiedFew Preschoolers Receiving Tx for Mood, Behavioral DisordersParents Often Miss Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in KidsHomeless, Mentally Ill Youth Benefit From Housing ProgramKids With Bipolar Disorder More Likely to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol: StudyModified Checklist With Follow-Up Valid for Autism in ToddlersMental Illness May Make Teens Vulnerable to Drugs, AlcoholTiming of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of TreatmentHearing Impairment May Be an Early Indicator of AutismEpilepsy, Febrile Seizures in Childhood May Raise ADHD RiskInsurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism DiagnosesDepression Strikes Nearly 3 Million U.S. Teens a YearSound Sleep Elusive for Many Kids With ADHDGenetic Insights May Help Kids Battling Developmental DelaysADHD Can First Appear in Young Adulthood for Some, Study SuggestsBaby's Immune System Might Hint at Autism RiskFor ADHD, Start With Behavior Therapy, Not Drugs: CDCAutism Diagnosed at Younger Ages'Wandering' a Hazard for More Than a Third of Kids With AutismGuideline Changes Have Asperger's Community on EdgeHarmless Brain Abnormalities in Kids Pose Disclosure Dilemmas
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Autism
Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Treatment

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Aug 5th 2016

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Children diagnosed with autism before age 4 are more likely to get behavioral therapy and less likely to be treated with drugs than those diagnosed later on, a new study says.

There is strong evidence that behavioral therapy directed at core symptoms such as poor social skills and inflexible behaviors is an effective treatment. And, such therapy may offer long-term benefits for patients' functioning, according to an American Psychiatric Association news release about the study.

Other treatments -- including medications such as antidepressants, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs and complementary and alternative therapies such as nutritional supplements -- are not as strongly supported by research, the study authors said.

The researchers, led by Dr. Katharine Zuckerman, a pediatrician at Oregon Health & Science University, looked at data on 722 children between the ages of 6 and 11 with autism. On average, their parents discussed developmental concerns with a health care provider when the child was just over 2 years old, and the average age at autism diagnosis was more than 4 years of age.

Children diagnosed before age 4 were more likely to receive behavioral therapy. Those diagnosed later were more likely to be treated with medications, the study found.

The researchers also found that the use of complementary and alternative therapies was nearly twice as likely when more than two years had elapsed between initial discussions and diagnosis.

The findings suggest that earlier diagnosis may lead to greater use of behavioral therapy and better outcomes for children with autism, Zuckerman and her colleagues concluded.

The study was published online Aug. 1 in the journal Psychiatric Services in Advance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children be screened for autism at 18 months and at 24 months, but only about half of primary care doctors do so. The average age of autism diagnosis in the United States is more than 4 years old, the study authors said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more on autism.