Parental wishes, needs and preferences around autism early life screening

Katerina Dounavi, Meral Koldas

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition diagnosed during childhood that has been increasing at unprecedented levels, with current prevalence being at 1 in every 44 children (Maenner et al., 2021). Although standardised screening tests are commonly available for pregnant women to screen for conditions such as Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes (Crombag et al., 2014), such screening is not available for ASD either prenataly or during early life.
Accessing behavioural intervention early in life has repeatedly shown to allow children with ASD to reach their full potential (Tanner & Dounavi, 2020). It is therefore of paramount importance to detect ASD signs as early as possible in a child’s life so as to enable them to access much needed support during a period of maximum brain plasticity.
To make this happen, researchers have focused their efforts on identifying behavioural markers for autism that unfold as early as from 6 months of life (Tanner & Dounavi, 2021). More recently, research on biomarkers has also started making some promising advances (Hnoonual et al., 2017; Yang et al., 2021). As we further pursue standardised screening for ASD, it is critical to identify parental wishes and needs (Reiff et al., 2015). This will allow as to better fit research and clinical practice towards the goals that are deemed valuable by the very people they are intended for.
To accomplish this aim, first, we systematically reviewed the literature on parental attitudes towards early ASD screening. Secondly, we created and distributed a survey to a culturally diverse sample of parents with the aim to capture parental views on the acceptance and importance of early screening for ASD as well as its usefulness depending on timing and format. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2023
EventSSESW School Conference 2023 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jun 202316 Jun 2023


ConferenceSSESW School Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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