WARSAW — Alexandru Tanase, a pediatrician at Lutheran Health Physicians Warsaw, worked with researchers from the Indiana School of Medicine on a study to promote the identification of autism and developmental disabilities at the earliest point possible.
Tanase’s Warsaw practice was one of eight Early Autism Evaluation (EAE) Hubs that participated in the study.
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. Specialists who diagnose autism are typically located in larger cities which can lead to delays in diagnosis for children who live in smaller towns.
The study sought to determine if primary care providers could diagnose autism accurately after receiving specialized training. “Our goal was to identify autism as early as possible,” said Tanase..
Tanase performed evaluations on children ages 14-48 months who were at increased likelihood of autism, with 20 area families opting in to the study. Across the state, 126 children participated with researchers finding an 82 percent agreement on an autism diagnosis between trained EAE Hub primary care clinicians, such as Tanase, and expert autism specialists.
“It was an honor to participate in a study that shows autism can be diagnosed at a younger age, leading to earlier interventions which ultimately will improve outcomes for both the child and family,” said Tanase.