Autism diagnosis for children as young as 14 months could boost treatment potential

5-5-2019 your toddler months old x
Image: Nicole Duplantis

When screening for autism spectrum disorder, a new study suggests that children can be reliably diagnosed with autism at an age earlier than what is currently recommended.

Current recommendations are for children to be screened specifically for autism spectrum disorder during regular doctor visits at 18 and 24 months old.

Yet new data suggest that autism detection and diagnosis can start as young as 14 months old with high accuracy, which could lead to children with autism having the option to start therapies early, according to the study published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics on [March 29].

“The brain is very plastic during early development and can be impacted by input from the environment,” [neuroscientist Karen Pierce] said. “The frontal cortex in particular — the part of the brain essential for the development of social skills — is making large numbers of connections between brain cells across the first two years of life.”

Related article:  People with autism show significant increases in IQ as they mature, but development issues remain

Historically, children with autism normally don’t even start their treatment until age 3 or 4, after a lot of that wiring has already happened, she said.

Read full, original post: When to screen for autism? New study suggests as young as 14 months

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