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USPSTF Recommendation on ASD

NAPNAP was disappointed by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Feb. 16 stating, “the USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in young children for whom no concerns of ASD have been raised by their parents or a clinician.”

While we appreciate USPSTF’s focus on available evidence, such broad recommendations may negatively affect the diagnosis for individual patients or make screening and treatment unaffordable for some patient families.

In our position statement on Integration of Mental Health Care in Pediatric Primary Care Settings, we support that early detection of and evidence-based intervention for mental health and behavioral problems is critical to prevent serious ongoing adverse outcomes. We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that available formal screening tools can identify children with developmental issues early so that they can benefit from intervention.

We refer members and the public to our Practical Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Screening, Early Intervention and Health Promotion, 2nd edition which includes detailed information about screening and treatment for ASD. In addition, our provider resource page on mental health has information and resource links, including those developed by experts in our Development and Behavioral Mental Health  special interest group.