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J Pediatr Nurs. 2014 May-Jun;29(3):238-47. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Feasibility and validity of early screening for identifying infants with poor social-communication development in a well-baby clinic system.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel. Electronic address:
Haifa District, Ministry of Health, Haifa, Israel.
Hannah Khousy Child Development Center, Bnai Zion Medical Center and Rappoport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


This study examined the feasibility and validity of implementing an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) screening for 12-month-old infants.


Parents of 583 infants, 12months of age attending well baby clinics (WBCs), completed the First Year Inventory-Lite (FYI-L). Ten infants who failed the FYI-L and a subset of 12 infants who passed the identified FYI-L were evaluated using the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Information regarding social-communication development ≥24months of age was extracted from medical records of 153 of the 583 infants.


Mean response rate across clinics was 26.63%. Infants at risk compared to controls showed significantly higher scores on the AOSI, lower composite scores on the MSEL, and a higher rate of referral for a developmental evaluation. At 24months, 95% of infants who were negatively screened had no social-communication problems on their medical records; 60% of those who were screened positive had documented problems on medical records.


ASD screening using the FYI-L at 12months in a healthcare setting identifies infants with poor social-communication development, yet parents had low compliance with screening.


ASD; Autism; Community screening; Feasibility; Infants; Social development; Validity

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