While the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening a child for autism between the ages of 18 months and 2 years with a test that can take up to two hours, a new study from Emory University and Georgia Tech offers a quicker way.
The process is called the Rapid Attention Back and Forth Communication Test, or "Rapid ABC" for short. It can be done in just five minutes through engaging a child in simple activities that test attention, communication and recognition.
While this test is not a replacement for comprehensive autism screening, it can identify children who are at risk of autism earlier in their development, giving them a head start on therapy.
momlogic expert and pediatrician Dr. Alana Levine says, "Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders include impairments in social interaction and communication, but are also characterized by unusual behaviors like repetitive movements, hand-flapping and lack of eye contact. Earlier diagnosis and intervention is associated with better long-term outcomes."
Dr. Levine also notes that if you have any suspicion that your child may have autism, the Rapid ABC test is only a screening test, and should be followed by a full diagnostic test for a thorough emotional and physical evaluation.