New Research Suggests Parents Of Infants With ASD Interact Differently Even Before A Formal Autism Diagnosis, Indicating They Intuitively Respond To Their Children’s Needs

Prostock-studio - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

In a new study, it was found that parents of infants with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interact with them differently even before a formal autism diagnosis, indicating they instinctively sense their children’s needs.

The research team – comprised of scientists from Emory University, the Marcus Autism Center, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – discovered that adults’ social engagement style with infants occurs before the first recognizable signs of autism.

The researchers believe this might be because babies who are later diagnosed with autism seek out different interaction types, prompting parents to adapt accordingly.

According to Sarah Shultz, one of the study’s authors, past research indicates that caregivers respond to their infants’ social cues in ways that are both timely and appropriately matched to the infants’ abilities and needs.

“Our study was based on this premise – that since caregivers are experts at matching their behaviors to their infants’ developing abilities, differences in caregiver behavior may be indicative of differences in infant development,” Shultz said.

Approximately one in 36 children in the U.S. are affected by ASD – which can cause difficulties in social interaction and communication – by age 8, according to a 2020 report from the CDC.

In this latest study, the research team analyzed data from 163 parent-baby pairs. By examining videos of parent-infant interactions recorded during the first six months of the babies’ lives, they aimed to identify differences between infants who later received an autism diagnosis and those who didn’t.

This analysis revealed that parents of children with ASD used greetings less frequently and began using greetings when their babies were older, as opposed to parents who had neurotypical babies. But, the researchers underscored how this difference does not indicate that the parents did anything wrong.

Instead, it may signify that the parents were simply responding naturally to the different ways their children were interacting with them.

Prostock-studio – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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