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November 15, 2013

Baby’s eye contact may be diagnostic for Autism

One of the cardinal signs of Autism is lack of or difficulties with eye contact and preference of objects over people.  A recent study found young children who were identified as having autism at age 3 looked less at  people’s eyes as babies than kids who did not develop autism.  Researchers assessed 36 boys between the ages of 2 months and 2 years.  They found that children who developed autism paid more attention to mouths then eyes, and looked more at objects after age 1.  While these results do not appear to be earth shaking, what stands out is that this carefully designed study shows that early identification (before the age of one) of autism is possible.  This also means that interventions can and should start in the first year of life.

The study was published online in the journal of Nature and reported by Pam Belluck of the New York Times

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