Currently, a clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is determined by behavioral/ observational evaluations performed on children ages 2-5 years. Research suggests that laboratory-based tests for screening or diagnosis of ASD may be available in the future. In this study, we examined attitudes towards the acceptance of a hypothetical laboratory-based screening test for children for ASD.
For this study, a survey was developed to capture opinions about a hypothetical ASD laboratory test and issues related to screening program functions such as costs of screening. Sixty-five people participated in the study.
The majority of participants would consider screening a child for ASD with a laboratory-based blood test if available. Most approved of early screening before age three regardless of the presence of ASD symptoms. If a screening test indicating a risk of developing ASD, most would consider enrolling a child in an early intervention program.
The trends in this preliminary work indicate favorable attitudes toward an early-initiated laboratory-based screening test for ASD. In advance of a clinically available test for ASD, understanding people's responses to such screening can help us conceptualize strategies for counseling and care delivery.