You probably already know that early treatment can help mitigate the more severe symptoms of autism. While diagnostic tools are far more sophisticated now than even a decade ago, clinicians today can only begin to assess and diagnose autism in children around the age of two. As a result, researchers have been working on developing ways to detect autism at an earlier age.
Recent research has shown that there may be a possibility of detecting autism in infants as young as six months of age. In a study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers used a brain imaging test to measure “white matter,” a specific form of nerve activity in the brain. The testing revealed that infants with higher risk of autism had different growth patterns in the brain’s nerve fibers than those who did not. The researchers stressed that this is a preliminary study, and does not mean that early diagnosis is now possible. However, it does indicate that great strides are being made in the effort to identify infants with the highest risk.
As scientists continue to make headway in the work of early detection of autism, it is important to remember to stay attuned to your children’s behavioral changes. Early treatment is one of the best ways to help your child.
The study abstract is available at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=668180
We provide developmental evaluations to assist with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In addition, we offer social skills groups as well as counseling and rehabilitation therapy for children with ASD. If you or someone you know would like more information contact our office at (503) 352-0240.