Infants who go on to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are developmentally normal by the age of 6 months, and the earliest signs of developmental disruption are subtle and not specific to autism, prospective, longitudinal data show.
In the largest prospective, longitudinal study to date comparing children with early and later diagnosis of ASD with children without ASD, Rebecca Landa, PhD, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues found that the earliest signs of developmental disruption in children with ASD are likely to be nonspecific to ASD, such as communication or motor delay.
At 6 months, development within both the early-onset ASD children and those with later-onset ASD was comparable both to each other and to non-ASD control children.
“The standard clinical tools that we use to assess early development are not identifying abnormalities in babies midinfancy that go on and have autism,” Dr. Landa told Medscape News.
“So the assumption that any infant who is going to have autism would be obviously autistic in midinfancy is a myth because this just isn’t happening.”
by Pam Harrison