Signs of Autism Can Be Identified Earlier Than Previously Expected

February 21, 2022

Timely Diagnosis Leads to Earlier Treatment Leading to Better Developmental Outcomes

According to two recent studies, signs of autism can be identified earlier than researchers previously thought. These new pieces of research even indicate that children under one year of age may display signs of the disorder. Both of these new studies were led by Dr. Hanna Alonim of the Mifne Center for Early Intervention in the Treatment of Autism. In the past, an autism diagnosis for a child under the age of 2 wasn’t considered reliable, but that may change due this new research. Currently, the average age of autism diagnosis in the United States is 4 years and 4 months 

The first study examined a group of 110 children who received an autism diagnosis between the ages of 2 and 3. These children were specifically selected for this research due to an abundant amount of first year video recordings. A team of researchers reviewed the footage of the participants’ infancy to try to identify signs of autism. The following traits were observed by the researchers in these baby videos:  

In the end, the results from this first study showed that 89% of the children exhibited early signs of autism from 5 to 15 months of age. 

The second study focused on how therapeutic early intervention benefits children between ages 12 and 24 months. The research team compared treatment for a group of infants to toddlers to determine how the intervention results differed. Treatment for both groups included a playroom, reciprocal play therapy, as well as engagement and communication therapy. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers discovered that the positive impact of the treatment intervention on the younger group of infants was much greater than on the group of toddlers. Taken together, these two studies demonstrate that the sooner a child can get a diagnosis and treatment for autism, the more effective the treatment will be. Earlier treatment should ultimately lead to better outcomes.  

Original Article 

First Study 

Second Study 

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