July 18, 2012

Diagnosing Autism In Babies: New Survey Could Identify Disorder In First Year Of Life

A questionnaire could help identify children at risk for autism in their first year of life, new research shows, and that could affect how early children start intervention programs as well as those programs' effectiveness.

"Identification of children at risk for [autism spectrum disorder] at 12 months could provide a substantial number of children and their families with access to intervention services months or years before they would otherwise receive a traditional diagnosis," study co-author Lauren Turner-Brown, a researcher with the Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine said in a statement.

Nearly 700 parents completed the "First Year Inventory" questionnaire, designed by University of North Carolina researchers. The survey asks roughly 60 questions about things like reactivity, repetitive behavior and expressive communication -- all of which can provide hints about whether or not a child is autistic.

The parents also filled out screening questionnaires when their children turned 3.

More than 30 percent of the children believed to be at-risk for an autism spectrum disorder based on answers provided at age 1, were diagnosed with the disorder by age 3. Eighty-five percent of the children who were at-risk based on answers when they were 1, had other developmental challenges that called for evaluation or intervention by age 3.

Overall, the researchers called those results "encouraging"... READ MORE >> 

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