The PICO Question that I have chosen for close exploration is laboratory diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children. In my data gathering, I have found that it has been discovered that there are no particular laboratory tests that could determine the occurrence of ASD conditions in people. One could think that there might be some predispositions or particularities in the brains of autistic children since some of their behavioral patterns significantly vary from those of their neurotypical peers. However, I have discovered there is nothing definitive, though currently active research is focused on exploring so-called biomarkers, which include brain imaging and various genetic tests. For now, the usual practice when attempting to determine ASD symptoms is screening. It includes general observations, tests to perform certain tasks, and a questionnaire for parents to assess their child’s behavior and development. Additionally, there is an assumption that autism-like symptoms might be caused by physical problems. Therefore, sometimes screening may feature genetic tests in a search for a similar to ASD Fragile X Syndrome symptoms, hearing examinations looking for causes for language skills problems, and blood tests checking for lead poisoning.
Making the diagnosis of ASD more definitive is extremely important due to the ability of a proper and well-timed diagnosis to make a person’s life less distressing and confusing. When undiagnosed, children are likely to experience the worsening of their behavior, which can result in deterioration of relations with people and the risk of depression due to self-loathing (Genovese and Butler, 2020). With the determination of diagnosis comes understanding: a young person recognizes that they are affected, and there is not simply something wrong with them. As a result, they are able to accept themselves, in accordance with the Christian perspective: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14, n.d.). Additionally, the prevention of stress caused by confusion contributes to a halting of the condition’s development, due to it often being the case with psychiatric disorders (Rubinstein and Chawla, 2018). Moreover, as a result of diagnosing, appropriate services can be delivered, and a child’s settings can be adapted in accordance with their needs. All of that is likely to improve the quality of one’s life and make peace-making with their condition more possible.
A selection of works for my literature review provides a look at the attempts of various scientists and researchers to select authoritative methods to diagnose ASD in children with the help of laboratory tests. In order to find the appropriate papers, I decided to turn to reliable databases such as ProQuest and Frontiers in Psychiatry. Having started with a combined search for works with possible key words – such as ‘autistic spectrum disorder,’ ‘children,’ ‘genetics,’ ‘rate,’ and ‘assessment’ – I have found a number of projects concerning my chosen topic. The next step was to determine whether the works were peer-reviewed: if they were not, I had to decline further considering them since these are not regarded within the scientific community. After that, I closely viewed the papers’ level of evidence in accordance with the hierarchy of evidence levels: I decided to only choose these corresponding to levels four and five. If a work met all the criteria, I fully studied its contents and put the results into the Matrix table. That way, I was sure of the legitimacy of the data found and, therefore, the appropriateness of my conclusions.
Genovese, A., & Butler, M. G. (2020). Clinical assessment, genetics, and treatment approaches in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(13), 4726. Web.
Psalm 139:13-14 (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Web.
Rubenstein, E., & Chawla, D. (2018). Broader autism phenotype in parents of children with autism: a systematic review of percentage estimates. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(6), 1705-1720. Web.