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.
A new study of babies who'd been placed in the neo-natal intensive care unit after birth was originally intended to research infant development.
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.
"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," Wiznitzer said.
These red flags could be used in future infant autism studies. The hope is to find solid autism markers that doctors can look for.
New study may lead to earlier autism detection
Characteristics of autism may be present as early as one month after birth.
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