Yesterday, in a publication in Nature, scientists showed that it is possible to identify markers of autism in the first 6 months of life, much before children begin to show symptoms. In this study, these markers predicted both diagnosis and level of disability 2 years later when the children were evaluated by expert clinicians. The scientists used eye-tracking technology to measure the way babies visually engage with others. If these results are replicated in larger samples, these procedures might in the future empower primary care physicians to screen for autism as part of routine well-baby check ups. Equal energy and resources will then have to be invested in improving access to early treatment so that children are afforded the opportunity to fulfill their full potential.
For the full article from Nature, click here.
For the New York Times article, Baby’s Gaze May Signal Autism, a Study Finds, click here.