Posts Tagged ‘ checkup ’

New Checklist May Help Diagnose Autism in Babies

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Doctor Screening BabyBy answering 24 questions, parents and pediatricians now have a better way of determining if a baby is showing symptoms and signs of autism by age 1. 

The Infant-Toddler Checklist was featured as part of a study just published in the Journal of Pediatrics,  ”Detecting, Studying, and Treating Autism Early: The One-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach.”  The checklist assesses babies based on emotion and eye gaze, communication, gestures, sounds, words, understanding, and object use.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego lead the study and created the checklist for pediatricians in the San Diego area to use during babies’ 1-year well-visit checkups.  137 pediatricians participated in the study and used the checklist to screen 10,479 babies. 184 infants who failed the screening were then further evaluated every 6 months until age 3.  The checklist was able to diagnose 75% of the infants with specific problems — 32 infants with autism, 52 with language delays, and 9 with development delays. 

Until now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged autism screening for toddlers 18 to 24 months, though most kids aren’t diagnosed until they’re older. According to, Geraldine Dawson of Autism Speaks (which co-funded the research) said, “This study is very encouraging in showing that a quick questionnaire given to parents during a well-baby visit has potential for identifying infants at risk for autism, as well as other developmental delays, at 12 months of age.”

Read more about the autism checklist:

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The Keys to a Good Doctor’s Visit

Monday, January 31st, 2011


When you take your child for her well visit, do you leave the pediatrician’s office feeling like you got all the answers you’d hoped for?

Not always, right?

This was the basis for a story we published in our February issue, called “Make the Most of Your Child’s Checkup.” In it, we offer seven strategies every parent should consider before the appointment. They include:

Speak up right away. I know that I’ve been tempted to wait until the very end of the visit to bring up the things I’m concerned about (like the time my then 17-month-old seemed to be particularly preoccupied with specks on the ground). But the doctors we interviewed said that’s not the way to go. Kick off your visit with your questions and worries, and your doc will have the entire visit to keep an eye out for any problems, or to quell your fears altogether.

Show up as a team. Of course, it’s not always possible for you and your partner to come to a doctor’s visit. But when you can, do—pediatricians like getting input and perspective from both of you.

Bring your backup. Did you read or see something that made you worry about your child? Print out the article or study or TV transcript and show it to your doc. Simply saying “I heard that you’re not supposed to [common action here] anymore because [scary outcome here]” won’t help. Your doctor can only intelligently comment on something if you’ve provided the source.

Check out our story for more ideas. And good luck at your next appointment!

Image: Aimee Herring

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