Developmental Surveillance of Infants and Toddlers by Maternal and Child Health Nurses in an Australian Community-Based Setting: Promoting the Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Although signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are evident during the first year of life, few children are diagnosed prior to 3 years. The objective in this article is to highlight the role that primary health care professionals can play in the early identification of ASDs by briefly outlining the successful implementation of The Social Attention and Communication Study. Maternal and child health nurses were trained on the early signs of ASDs, which enabled them to identify these children prior to 2 years. The training procedure used will be outlined, and the early signs that were monitored will be explained in detail. It is recommended that routine monitoring for ASDs in infancy and toddlerhood become standard practice among all primary health care professionals.