Pediatric Early Autism Recognition System (PEARS)

University of Michigan Health pediatric primary care has a new program to help families understand their young child’s risk of autism spectrum disorder.

What is PEARS?

PEARS is an early autism screening program offered to University of Michigan Health pediatric patients. It involves a clinic visit with a PEARS pediatrician who will talk to you and play with your child using a “Level 2” autism screening tool to help assess your child’s risk of autism or other types of developmental delay. A PEARS pediatrician is a U-M Health pediatric primary care provider that has trained with and is supported by the development behavioral pediatrics team at U-M Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

The PEARS clinic visit is scheduled for 45 minutes, and you will get results about your child’s autism right away. 

How do you qualify for PEARS?

To qualify for the PEARS program, your child must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 months and 48 months
  • Identified as “at risk” for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to at least one of the following:
    • Positive MCHAT (score >3)
    • A sibling or parent with ASD
    • A history of prematurity (gestational age less than or equal to 34 weeks)
    • Other provider or parent concern for ASD

Benefits of the PEARS program

Wait times for specialized autism evaluations can be very long. A clinic visit with a PEARS pediatrician can be scheduled in under 3 weeks, providing guidance for parents sooner to make decisions about extra developmental services your child may need.

For children that score in the high-risk range at their PEARS visit, we can help guide you through the process of an autism evaluation through Community Mental Health (for Medicaid plans) or an expedited autism evaluation through University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (for private insurance).

How do I request a PEARS evaluation?

Contact your U-M Health primary care provider to request a referral for a PEARS evaluation at 734-539-5080.