Approximately one out of every 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Estimates show that there are currently over 3 million people in this country who are affected with ASD. A new study has concluded that, far too often, doctors are ignoring parents’ concerns, which results in a delay in diagnosing ASD in the child. The question is what additional harm is this delay in diagnosis doing to children?
ASD actually refers to a group of brain development disorders which affect intellectual ability, motor attention and coordination, and physical health. Common physical ailments include gastrointestinal and sleep problems. Other issues associated with ASD include verbal and nonverbal communication problems, social interaction difficulties, and repetitive behaviors.
Research has shown that the start of autism begins in early brain development of a child, but signs of the disorder do not generally appear until the child reaches 2 to 3 years of age. The earlier a child is diagnosed, the quicker early intensive behavioral intervention therapy can begin. Multiple studies have proven that the earlier these therapies are introduced, the more significant benefits in improvements can be gained by children.
Studies show, for example, that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The earlier these therapies begin, the better chance of success there is.
However, this new study found that in many cases, when parents bring valid concerns to their child’s physician, they are told the child will “just grow out of it.”
A team of researchers from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon State University looked at cases from 1,420 children who were eventually diagnosed with ASD, as well as another 2,098 cases of children who had been diagnosed with other intellectual disability/developmental delay disorders. The researchers got the information from these cases from the 2011 Survey of Pathways to Diagnosis and Services.
The data showed that parents of children who were eventually diagnosed with ASD began raising concerns about their children to doctors when the children were, on average, 2.3 years old, compared with parents of children with the other disorders, who didn’t raise concerns with doctors until the children were an average 3.2 years old.
The data also revealed that the doctors of children who were eventually diagnosed with ASD were much more passive in their approach to treatment and delayed any additional testing – despite parents’ concerns. In most cases, the children with ASD were not diagnosed until they were approximately 5 years of age – three years from when parents first brought their concerns to the child’s doctor.
If your child has suffered permanent injury or illness because of a delayed or misdiagnosis by a doctor, contact an experienced DuPage County civil litigation attorney to find out what legal option you may have. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation.