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    Brush up on These Autism Board Pearls for World Autism Awareness Day

    Do you know the answer to this Audience Response Question from our Pediatrics Board Review Course

    At what age does the AAP recommend that all children be screened for autism spectrum disorder?

    A. 15 and 18 months of age
    B. 18 and 24 months of age 
    C. 12, 24, and 36 months of age 
    D. 24 and 30 months of age 

    April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, brush up with these pearls from our Pediatrics Board Review Course lecture slides. 

    Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder 

    • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1:50–1:80 children 
    • Early recognition critical 
    • Screen all children at 18 and 24 months of age 
    • Screen children > 24 months of age if concern for ASD 

    Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F)

    • 20 questions 
    • All responses should be “yes” except:
      • #2 “Have you ever wondered if your child might be deaf?” 
      • #5 “Does your child make unusual finger movements near his or her eyes?” 
      • #12 “Does your child get upset by everyday noises?” 
    • Score 3–7 → Do a 2nd stage M-CHAT-R/F (if this score is > 2, refer for further evaluation)
    • Score ≥ 8 → Refer for further evaluation 

    Autism Spectrum Disorder — Early Indicators 

    Absence of:

    • Babbling by 9 months of age 
    • Pointing or gesturing by 12 months 
    • Orientation to name by 12 months 
    • Single words by 16 months 
    • Pretend or symbolic play by 18 months 
    • Spontaneous, meaningful* 2-word phrases by 24 months 

    * Not repetitive or echolalic 

    Autism Spectrum Disorder — Social Interactions 

    • Fails to respond to name 
    • Poor eye contact 
    • Appears not to hear at times 
    • Resists physical contact 
    • Unaware of others’ feelings 
    • Prefers playing alone 

    Autism Spectrum Disorder — Language Skills 

    • Late talker 
    • Loses previous skills 
    • No eye contact when speaking 
    • Abnormal tone or rhythm
      • Singsong or robot-like 
    • Cannot have a conversation 
    • Repeats words or phrases verbatim but does not understand them 

    Autism Spectrum Disorder — Behavioral Components 

    • Repetitive movements
      • Rocking, spinning 
    • Rituals
      • Stacking, lining-up, arranging  

    child stacking cans

    Toys in a line and child stacking cans

    • Disturbed if changed 
    • Moves constantly 
    • Interested in parts of an object, not whole 
    • Sensitive to light, sound, and touch 
    • Oblivious to pain 


    So, the answer to the question is B. Children should be screened at 18 and 24 months of age. 

    Like the way these points are high-yield and only what you need to know for the ABP Boards? Sign up for our upcoming Pediatrics Board Review Course for more high-yield lectures! 

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