J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Aug;44(8):2074-6 doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2070-5.

Screening, intervention and outcome in autism and other developmental disorders: the role of randomized controlled trials

Fernell E, Wilson P, Hadjikhani N, Bourgeron T, Neville B, Taylor D, Minnis H, Gillberg C.


We draw attention to a number of important considerations in the arguments about screening and outcome of intervention in children with autism and other developmental disorders. Autism screening in itself never provides a final clinical diagnosis, but may well identify developmental deviations indicative of autism-or of other developmental disorders-that should lead to referral for further clinical assessment. Decisions regarding population or clinic screening cannot be allowed to be based on the fact that prospective longitudinal RCT designs over decades could never be performed in complex developmental disorders. We propose an alternative approach. Early screening for autism and other developmental disorders is likely to be of high societal importance and should be promoted and rigorously evaluated.

PMID: 24554162