Autism test takes just five minutes


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on August 14, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Updated Saturday, Aug 14 at 11:35 AM

Even before Ben's first birthday, his mom worried about autism.

"He wasn't imitating us. He wasn't pointing, or clapping, or playing any of those sort of interactive games," she said.

Katy pushed for autism testing at just 14 months. It confirmed her fears. But early intervention has made all the difference.

"There's still a gap between Ben and his typical peers that you can see, but he has caught up tremendously," said Katy.

The Rapid ABC is a new screen  for autism. Experts check a toddler's response to activities like having their name called, looking at a book, being tickled, and playing ball.

The five minute screening targets attention, reciprocity and communication in children fifteen to seventeen months. Then a software program computes the score. If autism is suspected, a child will have more testing.

"There really isn't something quick and rapid like the ABC out there where pediatricians can interact for just three to five minutes," said Jenny Mathys, MSSA LCSW, Emory Autism Center

"It'll help parents and myself to feel comfortable that I'm doing everything i can to identify if there was an issue," said Jessica Sales, Cooper's mother.

It's five minutes that could make a world of difference for a toddler's future.

The rapid ABC test was developed by Emory University and Georgia Tech. Studies show it's accurate in identifying toddlers who need more autism testing and intervention. The researchers say their goal is to make the rapid autism screening test a part of routine pediatric checkups. It would be done at eighteen and twenty four months