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Early Signs of Autism

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Early Detection Difficult but of Great Advantage to Successful Treatment

Normally signs of autism are most prominent in children age 3 or older which follows the age pattern when most developmental behaviors associated with social interaction and behavior are noticeable. This is also the normal age of detecting any language or speech problems. However, the latent quality of autism makes diagnosing early signs of autism in babies quite difficult!  Nonetheless detecting the first signs of autism can help parents prepare for and possibly improve their child's condition, which according to autism studies at Cambridge University, the earlier the diagnosis the better the chances are of behavioral improvement.

Detecting Early Signs of Autism in Babies

Examples of the earliest symptoms of autism visible in babies 6 - 18 months reported in Canadian studies recognized that signs of autism were often displayed through lack of facial expressions, frequent fixations on objects, and lack of or slow responses to emotions like smiling.  Additionally these studies revealed other possible preludes to autism in the form of submissiveness, irritability and lack of normal 6 -18 month old child activity.  The upside, however, is the fact that medical researchers are quite optimistic that cutting edge science will eventually improve measuring tools to definitively diagnosis autism before the age of 3.  Possibly even during fetal development or shortly thereafter! Unfortunately this type of medical advancement is in an obscure and distant future! But in the meantime let's take a look at current methods used to detect early signs of autism in children.

Early Medical Detection Methods for Autism

Researchers across the globe work diligently to find answers for parents concern about autism. But the most perplexing part of developing accurate measuring tools is the difficultly in measuring the condition among other children with autism.  Researchers found that the first signs of autism individually diagnosed in children illustrate developmental challenges in a different ways.  Plus autistic children will exhibit different levels of skills or talents in combination! According to researchers across the board autistic children gravitate towards a variety of behaviors in compensation for the developmental challenges associated with autism, thereby giving researchers a hard time pointing out initial specific and common behaviors among autistic children.

Can Autism be Inherited?

In Canada, researchers conducted control studies on early signs of autism in children, which reports the best way to recognize the earliest symptoms of autism in babies would boil down to measuring the probability of the infant developing autism.  In other words parents who have a child already diagnosed with autism increases the odds for a subsequent sibling to developing autism!  However, the percentage rate of increased chances varies depending on whether or not either side of the child's gene pool has a history of autism as well, so says researchers. And while these factors are not confirmed and purely based on conjectures measured by behaviors demonstrated in older siblings diagnosed with autism, Canadian researchers showed that 35% of autistic children have either a family history or an older sibling with autism.  This further fuels their anticipation that future studies will reveal a link to autistic fetal development to heredity malfunctions for a much earlier detection method.

On the other hand Cambridge researchers embarked on groundbreaking observation methods for a possible definitive detection of autism in children age 14 to 18 months.   According to studies conducted on 16,000 children, specific social interactive behaviors are normal for babies' age 14 months and in the absences of these behaviors lays a clear indication of autism.  Of the 16,000 children studied, remarkably 12 toddlers continuously failed all three behavioral trials used to measure autism, which the studies deemed potential traits of autism development.  What's even more promising for this study is the fact that 10 of the 12 toddlers where later diagnosed as autistic. These findings astounded the medical community, which hales this early detection method for autism a powerful measuring tool.

Here are the behavioral tools used in the Cambridge study parents can focus on to decipher possible autistic behavior in toddlers:

  • The ability to point to objects for others to observe is normal for toddlers, however, this ability will be absent in children developing with autism. Generally though, toddlers will have often have delayed gazes without attention diversion.
  • The ability to stare momentarily at one specific object and return to another object, parents or other things they were just observing. Here again toddlers will be less responsive to diversions once fixated on a specific object, when autism is present.
  • Make believe play is normal for toddlers. However, with autistic toddlers the ability to pretend play and imitate real life scenarios using toys is absent.

Currently, researchers are looking for ways to cohesively integrate promising methods to improve early autism detection.  Since technically merging techniques such as this could potentially offer developmental insight to autism than currently compiled.  Besides the ultimate goal according to researchers is to open the gate for detection and development of techniques parents can use to positively alter the outcome of their child's autistic progression.

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