A new study has used sophisticated eye tracking technology to measure what babies look at and for how long.
They made an incredible finding!
The babies who were later diagnosed with autism, were showing a reduction in eye contact at a VERY early age. This reduced eye contact started at anywhere from two months to six months of age.
I'll find a link to the study and see if I can get more information, such as who conducted the study and how, and what their peer reviewers think of the study.
This is regarded as really important because early treatment has already been shown to improve the children's future so much!
What this means is that children with autism could be identified within a few months of birth and therapy could be started much, much earlier.
This is NOT an association study or a 'risk factor' study. These are REAL measurements with REAL meaning!
the first news story I read was of course inaccurate.
This study was actually much more sophisticated than the news story let on. Probably the journalist did not understand the study.
It measured how quickly infants shift their gaze from one thing to another. With the later-diagnosed as autistic infants there was a brief delay. This delay is too brief for an observer to see it with the unaided eye.
This may seem like a trivial thing, but actually, this sort of study shows a crucial difference in how the brain processes information. At 2-4 months autism symptoms are already showing but not yet in a way parents could observe.