The Canadian Paediatric Society has recently released three position statements for the assessment of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, the Director of the Autism Research Centre based at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, is one of the lead investigators on a KBHN-funded study of infants at increased risk of ASD. His work, along with that of KBHN researcher, Dr. Jessica A. Brian, led to these recommendations.

“These position statements reflect the thoughtful perspectives and the vigorous discussion among clinicians from a number of disciplines – [specifically] developmental pediatrics, community pediatrics, family practice, clinical psychology, child psychiatry [and] other allied health disciplines as well as parent leaders and national advocacy groups,” Zwaigenbaum said.

The position statements focus on the early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), standards of diagnostic assessment for ASD and post diagnostic management and follow-up care for ASD. All of which are geared towards the role of the health care provider within the broader health care system.

“The statements, which cover the diagnostic journey from initial detection to diagnostic assessment to subsequent follow-up, reflect an effort to draw from best evidence to develop a ‘made in Canada’ approach to ASD assessment,” Zwaigenbaum continued.

Some of the recommendations include all Canadian children being monitored for early behavioural signs of ASD, early evaluation to determine further diagnostic assessment, suggestions on how to prepare for a child’s first office visit and how to conduct a diagnostic assessment, and finally, suggestions for surveillance and follow-up care.

“Our hope is that by tailoring assessment approaches to the clinical needs of children and families, and drawing on the expertise and commitment of community health providers, we can reduce some of the bottle necks that many families experience with assessing ASD-related assessment, and ensure timely initiation of supports and interventions to enhance developmental health and general well-being of children and families,” Zwaigenbaum concluded.


Kids Brain Health Network would like to congratulate the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Guidelines Task Force – including KBHN-researchers, Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Dr. Jessica A. Brian – for their tireless efforts in pediatric health/early childhood development and the release of these position statements.