Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that can vary in severity from person to person.
But, it is characterized by differences in communication and social interaction. Up until now, little was studied in regards to observing these communication differences in prelinguistic infants with ASD.
But, a new study conducted by Emory University School of Medicine, Florida State University, and the University of South Carolina revealed that social-communication differences can be observed in infants with ASD since they are revealed by nine months.
And, infants who are diagnosed with ASD later will exhibit lower social-communication skills before they turn one year old.
The study lasted for four years and included one hundred and twenty-four infants. The participants were assessed for early social communication at nine and twelve months.
This assessment included social skills–such as eye gaze, emotion, and gestures– as well as speech and symbolic skills. Then, the participants were assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder at two years old.
The participants who went on to be diagnosed with ASD had shown fewer social skills than “typically developing” infants at nine months old.
By twelve months, these same participants performed at much lower rates on nearly all prelinguistic assessments.
These findings are groundbreaking since social communication starts at birth. Newborns begin by recognizing faces, and then, between nine and twelve months, they begin to use other prelinguistic means of communication– including facial expressions, sounds, and gestures.
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