New Questionnaire Can Reveal Autism with 95% Accuracy

By raluca.olariu@…, 16 January, 2023
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According to a recent study, an online survey can detect autism with an accuracy rate of up to 95%.

Scientists have created a 39-item survey to assist parents in navigating a difficult diagnosis procedure. Parents or caregivers should complete the Autism Symptom Dimension Questionnaire (ASDQ) to find out about a child's behavior and social cues. However, following up with a doctor for an expert opinion is essential.

Evaluations of a child may involve assessing the frequency of eye contact, interaction with other children, reactions to loud noises, and level of literal understanding. Parents need to select one of five ratings that determine how often their child exhibits certain behaviors.

The experiment revealed the accuracy of their test in detecting autism varied between 55 to 95%, depending on the seriousness of the child's symptoms, making it consistent regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity. The results of the analysis of 1,467 children aged two to 17, including 104 with autism, were published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

In addition to diagnosing autism, this test can also be used to monitor and measure autism symptoms over time.

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More Autism Diagnoses

In the US, around 2.3% of children have autism spectrum disorder, a rate that is increasing as the stigma associated with this condition decreases. Even with modern sciences and societies, autism spectrum disorder is usually only recognized when the child is already older.

The United States typically diagnoses individuals at age four, while the United Kingdom has an average of six years old. Without a definitive test, physicians must base their diagnosis of the condition on the patient's developmental history and behavior.

Specialists suggest prompt intervention can have a tremendous effect and the recognition of signs in kids with autism is essential to make sure they get appropriate help. To be officially diagnosed, children must still consult with a professional but the ASDQ questionnaire is an important step in creating a standardized test for autism.

See How Virtual Reality May Help Early Autism Diagnosis.

To monitor a child's development, screening for ASD should occur at 18 months and 24 months. During this evaluation, the child's language ability, movements, intelligence, behavior, and emotions are compared to other children of the same age. Nevertheless, a professional like a developmental pediatrician or child psychologist is needed to give an official diagnosis.

6 Main Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and interacts with others. It is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and behavior. The five main symptoms of autism are:

1. Social Interaction Difficulties: Children with autism often have difficulty understanding social cues and interacting with others. They may struggle to make friends or engage in conversations.

2. Communication Issues: Children with ASD may have difficulty understanding verbal and nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions or body language. They may also struggle to express themselves verbally.

3. Repetitive Behaviors: Autistic kids often engage in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth or flapping their hands. These behaviors can be calming for the individual , but can be disruptive to others.

4. Sensory Issues: Children on the spectrum may be overly sensitive or under-sensitive to certain sensory stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights. This can cause them to become overwhelmed in certain environments.

5. Cognitive Difficulties: Kids with autism spectrum disorder may have difficulty understanding abstract concepts and problem-solving skills. They may also struggle with planning and organization.

6. Anxiety and Depression: Children with autism spectrum disorder may also experience anxiety and depression due to their difficulties in social interaction and communication. They may also struggle with self-esteem issues, as they may feel isolated or misunderstood by their peers.

Tools for Reducing Autistic Symptoms

There are more and more tools available to help reduce the symptoms of autism. These tools range from household products to assistive technology, and can be used to help children with autism learn new skills and cope with their condition.

Let's have a look at some products that can be of great help for children with autism:

  • Weighted blankets. These are designed to provide deep pressure stimulation, which can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
  • Sensory toys. Sensory toys are designed to stimulate the senses and help children with autism focus and relax. Examples include fidget spinners, squishy balls, and tactile boards.
  • Social stories. Social stories are short stories that explain social situations in a simple way, helping children with autism understand how to behave in different situations.
  • Augmentative and alternative communication devices. These are devices that help children with autism communicate, such as picture boards or speech-generating devices.

Conclusion

The new quiz that can spot autism with up to 95% precision is a great tool for parents and professionals to use in order to identify the condition. It is important to remember that autism is a spectrum disorder, and each individual will experience it differently. Therefore, don't hesitate to seek professional help if you suspect your child may have autism. 

Photo credit: Unsplash.