CME Title

Autism A.L.A.R.M.

This initiative developed by the AAP summarizes the principles of early detection and intervention in the acronym A.L.A.R.M.

Autism is prevalent

  • 1 out of 6 children are diagnosed with a developmental disorder and/or behavioral problem
  • 1 in 166 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental disorders have subtle signs and may be easily missed

Listen to parents

  • Early signs of autism are often present before 18 months
  • Parents usually DO have concerns that something is wrong
  • Parents generally DO give accurate and quality information
  • When parents do not spontaneously raise concerns, ask if they have any

Act early

  • Make screening and surveillance an important part of your practice (as endorsed by the AAP)
  • Know the subtle differences between typical and atypical development
  • Learn to recognize red flags
  • Use validated screening tools and identify problems early
  • Improve the quality of life for children and their families through early and appropriate intervention


  • To Early Intervention or a local school program (do not wait for a diagnosis)
  • To an autism specialist, or team of specialists, immediately for a definitive diagnosis
  • To audiology and rule out a hearing impairment
  • To local community resources for help and family support


  • Schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss concerns more thoroughly
  • Look for other features known to be associated with autism
  • Educate parents and provide them with up-to-date information
  • Advocate for families with local early intervention programs, schools, respite care agencies, and insurance companies
  • Continue surveillance and watch for additional or late signs of autism and/or other developmental disorder


A-utism is prevalent.
L-isten to parents.
A-ct early.
The acronym A.L.A.R.M. stands for…
Click on the correct letter.
A. Autism is prevalent, Listen to parents, Act early, Refer, and Monitor
B. Autism is prevalent, Learn the signs, Assess each child, Refer, and Monitor
C. Autism can be cured, Look for symptoms, Assume nothing, React cautiously, and Monitor
D. Autism is over diagnosed, Look for panic, Attempt to clam. React cautiously, and Monitor