April 28, 2011 -- A simple checklist completed by parents can help doctors screen for signs of autism as early as the child’s first birthday, according to new research.
''I am hoping it will become the standard of care," researcher Karen Pierce, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, tells WebMD.
She recently tested the screen, asking 137 pediatricians throughout San Diego County to take part. At the 12-month well baby visit, the doctors asked the parents to answer the 24-item checklist. The questions ask about their child's emotions, eye gaze, communication, gestures, and other behaviors.