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Both clinical reports are complemented by the toolkit titled “,” which contains screening and surveillance tools, practical forms, tables, and parent handouts to assist the pediatrician in the identification, evaluation, and management of autism spectrum disorders in children.

Public and physician awareness of autism has increased markedly in the new millennium because of increased media coverage and a rapidly expanding body of knowledge published in professional journals.

Autism spectrum disorders are not rare; many primary care pediatricians care for several children with autism spectrum disorders.

In addition, as screening tools and more reliable evaluation instruments have been developed, professionals have become increasingly proficient in recognizing and diagnosing ASD.

Apart from greater awareness and better ascertainment, additional reasons for the apparent increase have been debated hotly in the lay media; in fact, the publicized “autism epidemic” may be one of the most challenging public health issues today.

listed broadened AD criteria and the new subthreshold category of PDD-NOS, both of which promoted inclusion of milder cases.

Later, these changes received criticism for being too inclusive and for promoting overdiagnosis.

It is critical that PCPs recognize the early signs of ASDs and be aware of new data that support better outcomes in children whose conditions are diagnosed early and who participate in appropriate intervention programs.

Because it is a chronic condition, the PCP also needs to feel comfortable with the ongoing care of children with ASDs within the context of the medical home.The network uses systematic screening of developmental evaluation records for autistic behaviors rather than depending on a medical or educational diagnostic label of an ASD.In 2007, the network reported ASD rates for 8-year-old children ranging from 1 in 303 to 1 in 94 for 2 time periods (20) in a total of 14 sites in the United States; the average rate was 1 in 150 or 6. 8-year-olds.The term “infantile autism” first appeared as a diagnostic label in the (Tables 1 and 2, respectively).PDD-NOS, the remaining ASD, is described in the DSM-IV-TR as a subthreshold diagnostic term used when a child demonstrates severe and pervasive impairments in reciprocal social skills associated with deficits in language skills or with the presence of stereotypic behaviors or restricted interests or activities but does not meet full criteria for AD or AS.Professionals who specialize in autism have proliferated over the past 2 decades and have introduced the terminology “autism spectrum disorders” (ASDs) to reflect the broader spectrum of clinical characteristics that now define autism.: autistic disorder (AD), Asperger syndrome (AS [this terminology will be used in this report, although “Asperger's disorder” is used in the aforementioned publications]), and pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

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