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Am J Public Health. 2005 Nov;95(11):1928-32. Epub 2005 Sep 29.

Developmental stages of developmental screening: steps to implementation of a successful program.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Through the use of 2-stage screening strategies, research studies have shown that autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities can now be detected reliably and with greater validity and in children as young as 18 months of age. Screening and diagnostic practices in the medical and educational arena lag far behind clinical research, however, with the average patient age at time of diagnosis being 3 to 6 years.We discuss the challenges of instituting universal developmental screening as part of pediatric care and present 2 models of existing or planned programs of early screening for autism spectrum disorder and developmental disability (1 in a community-based setting and 1 in a pediatric setting), and discuss the pros and cons of the different strategies.

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