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A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that early signs of autism in infants do not start emerging until a child reaches one year of age.
Researchers at the University of California-Davis tracked the communication methods of 50 children until the age of three. After their first birthday, attempts at communication increased in healthy children but decreased in those who were later determined to be autistic.
"This study tells us that screening for autism early in the first year of life probably is not going to be successful because there isn't going to be anything to notice," said Sally Ozonoff, the study's lead author.
"It also tells us that we should be focusing on social behaviors in our screening, since that is what declines early in life," she added.
For the study, researchers included 25 infants who had autistic siblings and 25 others who were at a low risk of being born with the disorder. The team was not made aware of the identity of each group to maintain legitimacy.
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