Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore screening practices for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Mexico and the United States (U.S.).
Methods: Data from a larger study exploring the knowledge, screening, and diagnostic practices of healthcare practitioners from Mexico and the U.S. was used for the current study. The original survey was created by experts in ASD and consisted of 63 questions: 15 demographic questions, 20 questions relating to knowledge of ASD, 11 questions relating to screening practices, and 17 questions relating to diagnostic practices. All surveys were completed by professionals engaging in the screening and diagnosis of ASD. For this study, a total of thirty- five survey responses for the screening portion of the survey (30 from the U.S. and 5 from Mexico) were explored. Qualitative data and descriptive statistics were utilized.
Results: Many of the responses relating to screening practices from professionals practicing in Mexico and the U.S. were consistent with best practice guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Mexican Public Health Guide. Furthermore, many similarities were found in the screening practices of professionals from both countries. Differences in screening practices reported by professionals from Mexico and the U.S. were found in the type of professional involved in the screening process and professional referrals after a failed ASD screening. Additionally, some professionals from both the U.S. and Mexico reported the use of inappropriate screening tools, and the average age reportedly screened was much higher than the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Hyman et al., 2020).
Conclusion: An understanding of the screening practices currently being used in Mexico and the U.S. provides both researchers and clinicians with a better understanding of what is being implemented by different professionals. This study identified areas of strength and areas of weaknesses in the screening process for ASD in both countries. These results can now be used in future studies and programs targeting improved screening processes in Mexico in the U.S. Improved screening processes are important because of the potential to result in an earlier age of diagnosis of ASD and provision of services at a younger age. The latter of which is associated with better outcomes for children with ASD.
Valdez, M. F., Stewart, J. R., Crutchfield, R., Chang, W.-L., & Carlson, R. (2023). Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening Practices in the United States and Mexico. Contemporary Research in Disability and Rehabilitation, 3(2), 3–20. https://doi.org/10.51734/crdr.v3i2.53
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