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Can a questionnaire identify those at risk of autism?

Can a questionnaire identify those at risk of autism?
16th July 2012

Identifying those with autism at an early stage is vital for successful intervention and now researchers claim that a questionnaire could potentially identify one year olds at risk of the condition.

Among those children of parents that fill out this questionnaire, 31 per cent are identified as being at risk of autism by 12 months and are diagnosed by three years of age, according to a study at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

What’s more, 85 per cent of children found to be at risk of autism based on the results from the questionnaire had some other development disability or concern by the age of three.

The questionnaire is known as the First Year Inventory (FYI) and is comprised of 63 questions.

Dr Grace Baranek, senior author of the study and an autism researcher with the Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service (PEARLS) in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, commented: “These results indicate that an overwhelming majority of children who screen positive on the FYI indeed experience some delay in development by age three that may warrant early intervention.”

This intervention is key for putting strategies in place to improve a child’s development and decrease their risk of problems with socialisation in later life.

Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions.