A new study is suggesting that the diagnosis of autism could be made as early as 14 months old.
Autism is a spectrum disorder which can affect behavior, social skills, and communication. Most experts and health professionals agree that early detection and identification is key to treatment and management of autism. Earlier diagnosis leads to earlier intervention which can help with a child’s development.
Dr. David Agus explained his thoughts on detecting autism at an earlier age.
“So, we had thought that if you start to see delayed behavior in children at an early age, well, we’re going to watch until age 2 and 3 to know if it’s autism spectrum disorder. In this study, by age 14 months, by doing standardized testing they can actually with 84 percent accuracy diagnose autism. This is a very important study and has a lot of optimism for bringing earlier treatment to kids,” Agus said.
Only 2% of the children researchers thought had autism spectrum disorder went on to develop normally, while 14% were diagnosed with a different developmental disorder.
There is still a lot to be learned about autism spectrum disorder and what causes it. What scientists are sure of however is that autism isn’t linked to vaccinations. This is despite a large campaign of misinformation which has led to one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades.
“We think it’s involved in brain development in the first and second trimester, but that’s about it,” Agus said. There is some evidence which suggests that there could be a genetic association with autism and also that the older the parent is, the higher the chances of developing autism are.
Regardless, early detection of developmental disorders is vital to help young children get treatment as soon as possible.