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(KSL News) America's leading group of pediatricians want all children to be screened for autism twice before they turn 2 years old, even if they have no symptoms.
A report from the American Academy of Pediatricians shows signs of autism, including a lack of speaking, pointing, eye contact, or voice recognition, can start as early as six months old, but diagnosis can take a year.
The academy wants doctors to order therapy as soon as they detect the possibility of autism.
Autism is affecting an increasing number of Utah families. Research released this year by the Centers for Disease Control showed Utah had the third highest number of cases out of 14 states. An estimated one in every 133 Utah children has autism. The disability is more prevalent in boys.
Lee Grossman, of the Autism Society of America, said, "When pediatricians look at children now for their well-baby checkups, they're usually checking them physically. But they're not checking their mental or intellectual development, and that's as critical."
Pediatricians say they do not get paid for autism screening, and advocates want insurers to reimburse doctors. Autism has no known cure, but doctors say with early treatment autistic children have a better chance of adapting to their surroundings.