Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Autism Diagnosis at just Months Old

It would be amazing if autism could be diagnosed as early as three months old. The kids who start treatment early are seeing great progress. Preventing autism is extremely important, but until that's possible getting the best treatment is key. This is very promising!

FROM NBC: While most children with autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed around age 2 or 3 -- a new study suggests it may someday be possible to flag these children as young as just a few months old.
The idea that an autistic child could be diagnosed as an infant -- and therefore be able to get the earliest treatment possible -- is intriguing to experts in the field. "Waiting 3 years versus 3 months obviously might make a big difference."

A small new study of babies who'd been placed in the neo-natal intensive care unit after birth was originally intended to research infant development.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer - UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland: "This was not meant to be an autism study, but they went back and said: 'mmm we have some features here that can differentiate the kids with autism compared with kids who don't.'"

Some of the children who were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had developmental anomalies as young babies -- differences in muscle tone and how they responded to noises and visual patterns. The differences were subtle -- which experts say could not be identified by a parent. and it's too early to generalize these findings to healthy newborns.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer - UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland: "

These were babies who were sick enough that they ended up in an intensive care unit and then were followed afterwards to monitor their development." Still -- these red flags could be used in future infant autism studies. the hope is to find solid autism markers that doctors can look for -- even in their tiniest patients.
Even though there's no real cure for autism -- the experts say getting these children into treatment programs as early as possible helps. Current early signs of autism include not making eye contact, not responding to their name, repetitive behaviors and not socializing or interacting appropriately.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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