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- The ARC - California Edition -

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Early Screening for Autism Proposed

A panel of the National Academy of Sciences has proposed that “children as young as two years old be routinely screened for autism much like children are tested for vision and hearing today.” This proposal has been made in light of a number of published studies reporting a sharp growth in the incidence of autism and related developmental disabilities.

Autism is a common disorder, which often is not evident at the time of birth, but typically presents itself during the first 3 years of a child’s life. Without extraordinary intervention, the symptoms usually lasts his/her entire life. This form of disability is more prevalent in boys, than in girls. Children defined as being autistic usually fail to respond when spoken to, do not make eye contact, and engage in repetitive behavior, such as head-banging and rocking. Another common characteristic is that an autistic person will be very sensitive to sounds and touch.

Researchers have reported finding that autism may affect as many as 20 of every 10,000 people. If this finding holds true, autism will then be more common than childhood cancer or Down Syndrome. 

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