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Clinical impact of early diagnosis of autism on the prognosis and parent-child relationships

Authors Elder JH, Kreider CM, Brasher SN, Ansell M

Received 15 April 2017

Accepted for publication 19 June 2017

Published 24 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 283—292

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S117499

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Video abstract presented by Jennifer Harrison Elder.

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Jennifer Harrison Elder,1 Consuelo Maun Kreider,2 Susan N Brasher,3 Margaret Ansell4

1Department of Family and Community Health Nursing Science, 2Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 3Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 4Health Science Center Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a lifelong condition that usually appears in late infancy or early childhood, and is characterized by social and communication deficits that impede optimal functioning. Despite widespread research and greater public awareness, ASD has an unclear etiology and no known cure, making it difficult to acquire accurate and timely diagnoses. In addition, once an ASD diagnosis is made, parents find it challenging to navigate the healthcare system and determine which interventions are most effective and appropriate for their child. A growing body of evidence supports the value of early diagnosis and treatment with evidence-based interventions, which can significantly improve the quality of life of individuals with ASD as well as of their carers and families. Particularly noteworthy are early interventions that occur in natural surroundings and can be modified to address age-related goals throughout the lifespan. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to: 1) provide readers with a brief background related to ASD; 2) describe commonly used screening instruments and tools for early diagnosis; 3) describe early interventions that have empirical support; and 4) discuss how the parent–child and family relationships can be affected through this process. This information can provide professionals with information they can use to assist families who make critical and potentially life-changing decisions for children with ASD.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, ASD, early diagnosis, early intervention, parent–child relationship

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