Around 25% of children age 8 years or younger with autism spectrum disorder are not diagnosed, according to a recent study from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) ( Pediatrics 2019:10;2019). This underdiagnosis problem is particularly significant in Hispanic and black children.
In CHOP’s study of 266,000 children, around 4,500 were identified with autism, but about 1/4 of those had not been previously diagnosed.
In a separate Rhode Island study of 1,000 participants (Autism Res 2020:10;1002), girls were diagnosed with autism an average 1.5 years later than boys. The authors hypothesized that the delay in diagnosis was due to more advanced language abilities in girls with autism, compared to boys.
Autistic children are known to have ocular problems at a higher rate than the general population, but these problems are often more difficult to detect and measure, due to examination difficulties. At Ticho Eye Associates, the staff have a particular sensitivity to the special needs of autistic patients. “Autistic patients and their families often don’t feel welcome in many other medical facilities,” according to Benjamin Ticho, MD. “We go to great lengths to make all our special needs individuals feel more comfortable, because something as simple as giving eyedrops can be extra challenging.”