Every pediatrician knows that it’s important to diagnose autism when a child is as young as possible, because when younger children get help and intensive therapy, their developmental outcomes improve, as measured in everything from improved language, cognition and social skills to normalized brain activity.
Researchers looking to find a biomarker that may help with the early diagnosis of autism have seized on the question of how young children react to hearing their names called. Dr. [Geraldine] Dawson was the corresponding author on a study in April in the journal Autism which used computer vision analysis to look at the reactions of toddlers from 16 to 31 months old, in response to hearing their names called. Those with autism spectrum disorder took significantly longer to look away from a video and orient toward the person who had called.
“Toddlers and infants who will go on to develop autism are paying attention to the world in a very different way,” Dr. Dawson said.
The hope is eventually to make a tool that would be easily available in low-resource countries, or in any area in the United States, perhaps by having parents collect data on their phones.
Read full, original post: The Search for a Biomarker for Early Autism Diagnosis