They say a new case is diagnosed every 20 minutes and there's no cure, but if caught early, children can lead more productive lives.
The Academy says all children should be screened at 18 and 24 months -- even if they have no symptoms. Signs like not babbling, making eye contact, pointing or recognizing a parent's voice-- may be evident as young as six months.
Lee Grossman of the Autism Society of America says, "When pediatricians look at children now for their well baby check-ups, they're usually checking them physically. But they're not checking their mental or intellectual development, and that's as critical."
One of the issues pediatricians face is getting paid for screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging the insurance industry to reimburse doctors.
The website, autismspeaks.org, allows parents to log on and view videos that show signs and symptoms of autism. The website will play videos of children with and without autism next to each other, making typical behavior of both types of child more distinguishable.