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Autism Diagnosis Can Be Made at an Earlier Age

Autism Diagnosis Can Be Made at an Earlier Age

BALTIMORE, July 5 -- About half of children who develop autism may be diagnosable by 14 months of age, researchers found in a small study that dropped the bar for early diagnosis by six months.

Toddlers diagnosed early also appeared to have a different developmental trajectory than those with a later diagnosis, reported Rebecca J. Landa, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins, and colleagues in the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

These differences "highlight the need for early intervention and for these programs to robustly target social affective, social cognitive, and communication development in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder," they wrote.

A few retrospective studies have set a precedent for provisional diagnosis of autism for children as young as 20 months, but "autism spectrum disorder is rarely diagnosed before age three years," they noted.


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