UA research looks at detecting autism in rural areas

11 Jun

Most online discussion of autism prevalence focuses in a single number: the average. For example, the recent CDC estimate boils down to “1 in 88” most of the time.

There is a lot going on behind the average, though. For example there is a great deal of variation in prevalence state to state, between racial/ethnic groups and between rural and urban populations. These differences in prevalence point to the conclusion that we still are not identifying all autistic students (much less all autistic adults).

This is why there are a number of efforts to identify and bring services to under represented populations.

Alabama is one of the states that is included in the CDC prevalence estimates. Alabama is the state with the lowest prevalence estimate.

Which is why it is a good thing that the University of Alabama is working on identifying autistics in rural Alabama. This is discussed in UA research looks at detecting autism in rural areas

Here is an excerpt:

Current knowledge about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) allows doctors to identify patients with autism as early as 18 to 24 months old, but in places like rural West Alabama those diagnoses might not take place until children are 5 or 6.

Dr. Dan Albertson and his colleagues at the University of Alabama are in the midst of a study that they hope will shorten the amount of time it takes to recognize cases of autism at the rural Carrollton Primary Care Clinic in Pickens County.

In the study, children who show signs of autism at the Carrollton clinic will be asked to participate in a follow-up play session that is videotaped.

The videos are then sent to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic in Tuscaloosa for further analysis, and doctors at the Carrollton clinic are then given feedback on any red flags for the disorder.

This study will help address the big question of how to efficiently screen a lot more kids for autism than we currently do.

The state with the highest autism prevalence estimate in the recent CDC report was New Jersey. Recently results were reported from a program to use staff in schools, specifically preschools, to help screen for autism in New Jersey. That study was headed by Dr. Yvette Janvier, former member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

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3 Responses to “UA research looks at detecting autism in rural areas”

  1. anautismdad June 12, 2012 at 10:37 #

    I posted a suggestion for Rural Autism Care in the South African context – http://anautismdad.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-proposal-for-rural-autism-care/

    • Sullivan June 12, 2012 at 14:03 #

      An Autism Dad,

      I need to review Prof Grinker’s recent paper which includes some discussion of work ongoing in South Africa.

      I was in your home town briefly about 20 years ago. I have to admit most of that time was spent arranging trips *out* of Durban. It was quite an experience.

      I greatly appreciate you getting your point of view out.

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