Researchers from the University of California conducted a “Name Test” among two groups of children with the intent of determining whether such test is sufficient to identify autism among children. The study involves the researchers calling the children by their name. The hypothesis was that children who do not have autism will respond when called by their name.
There were two groups of one year old children involved in this study. The first group was the controlled group and consists of normal, healthy children while the second group is the high risk group and consists of children who have siblings who have been diagnosed with autism.
Results of the research showed that in the controlled group, one hundred percent of all the children responded when the researchers called them by their name. Some responded on the first call while others responded on the second call. On the contrary, only eighty six percent of the children in the high risk group passed the Name Test.
The researchers then followed the children in both the controlled group and the high risk group up to their second birthday. It was found that of those who failed the Name Test, three-quarters were diagnosed to have developmental issues upon reaching their second birthday. Further, it was found that half of the children who were diagnosed as having autism had failed the Name Test during the research study.
While this study may indicate that the Name Test can be used to screen for autism, the researchers are quick to state that the Name Test should not be the only means for diagnosing autism. Further, the Name Test can only be used as an initial screening test as the results are non-conclusive. Failing the Name Test only indicates that further assessment of the child must be made. Likewise, not failing the Name Test will not necessarily mean that the child does not have autism.
The researchers further stressed that the Name Test must be done regularly when the child is at least a year old. Doing the Name Test earlier than this will not have any significant results. It is only when the child consistently fails the test that further assessment should be arranged for. Have the child checked by a pediatric professional so that appropriate intervention may be implemented. Keep in mind that the earlier the child is diagnosed, the better.