Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects approximately 1 in 100 individuals, and results in difficulties in social communication and social interaction, together with restricted, repetitive behaviours. It often presents in young children with symptoms of poor eye contact, reduced responsiveness, language delay, and poor social interaction with others. However, once detected and diagnosed, children with ASD can start early intervention programmes, leading to improved outcomes.
ASD has no one known cause, but it is known that families with one child with ASD are at 10 to 20 times increased risk of having a second child with ASD. KKH’s Department of Child Development has developed a sibling screening programme called, ‘BabySibs – Autism Screening Service in Singapore Toddlers (B-ASSIST)’. We provide repeated screening (at 12, 18 and 30 months of age) to younger siblings of our patients with ASD in this programme. It assesses three different modalities of screening, and aims to establish a structured community-based screening model for ASD in Singapore in the long term. This programme has been made possible through generous funding from Temasek Foundation Cares and SingHealth Duke-NUS Paediatrics Academic Clinical Programme Clinical Innovation Support.
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