Why are many kids not getting diagnosed with autism before age 2? New study has some answers

Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study done in Norway that might shed some light into why many kids are given a false-negative diagnosis for autism at 18 months.

Dylan Flint, 7, and Liesa Randel get their boarding passes for the Wings for All flight for children with autism to practice going through security and boarding a plane. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman 2016. 

The researchers looked at 68,000 kids whose parents had answered the screening questionnaire that is the first step in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and then been told that they were not on the spectrum.

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At 18 months, the kids in the false-negative group had delays in social, communication and motor skills compared with the kids who were truly negative for autism. Boys in the false-negative group were often labeled more “shy,” but girls were not labeled as shy as their true-negative counterparts.

What the study found was that often parents didn’t report delays or really understand the characteristics they saw as compared with what would be considered neurotypical. Gender also mattered how parents saw their children and how they answer questions on this test.

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