Are the Newest AAP Autism Intervention Recommendations Too Rigid?

Changes in Treatment Evidence Make Some Doctors Question AAP’s Advice

Earlier this year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their guidance on identifying, evaluating and supporting children with autism. The organization’s guidelines seem to lack specific recommendations regarding interventions and implied that more intensive services for young children can generally lead to greater improvements. However, not all doctors agree with the AAP’s guidance, especially when new evidence is considered. A new editorial written by three experienced autism doctors and published in JAMA Pediatrics points out that the amount of autism treatment research has exploded over the past decade. The editorial’s authors indicate that findings from this newer research challenge previous conclusions, especially when it comes to the quantity of therapy hours for young children. As previously pointed out in SafeMinds Shares, longer hours spent in intervention is not always better for toddlers with autism. To distinguish their views from the AAP’s, these doctors offer three simple alternative recommendations for pediatricians with families of young children with autism in their practice. First, inform families about a range of intervention approaches. Second, tailor intensity recommendations to the needs of the child and family. Third, encourage an integrated multidisciplinary support. 

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