Sunday, June 29, 2008

Earlier Detection Benefit or Question

It is a known fact that children with autism rarely receive a diagnosis before age 3 or 4. But behavioral researchers believe they are homing in on specific behaviors that should drop the age of first diagnosis down to as young as 18 months.

Early diagnosis has become increasingly critical as treatments for the potentially devastating developmental disorder advance and research begins to show that the earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

Here is the report posted by the American Psychological Association.

This article also points out that such "tools" for early detection are not proof of the disorder and could lead to a misdiagnosis and unnecessary therapies--given the fact that autism is a tricky disorder to diagnose due to the correlation of age and social behaviors in young children. This is why most researchers hope they will find biological or genetic markers for autism that could accurately diagnose autism at birth and would bolster the behavioral measures. Some teams are well on the way toward finding one or several autism genes.

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