The National Autistic Society has welcomed the results of research that seems to suggest that children with autistic-spectrum disorders (ASD) might be diagnosed at a much earlier age.
Their spokesperson said that it provided further insights into the condition.
The recent study looked at over seventy toddlers, grouped as those with normal development, others with ASD and finally children with different problems.
The two year olds were all shown different animation; some based on movement and the rest a mixture including sounds. The ASD sufferers responded more when the music matched the changing imagery by over sixty percent.
The research carried out in Yale, was recently published in the magazine Nature. Soon after they are born, a baby will pay attention to its surroundings, which is where their development begins. For babies with autism this is usually not the case, so any insights are essential for detecting the condition as early as possible.
The data was produced by creating different versions of animated games, for example ‘pat a cake’, which was then shown to each participant.
In a split screen, approach the visual was alternatively shown in reverse and upside down, the subject’s reactions were noted.
The National Institute of Mental Health supported the research financially and their director Thomas Insel is excited about the findings.
He said that it shows for the very first time that there is something that attracts the interest of the ASD babies. Further, more he noted that the potential for this discovery could ultimately create new treatments for these vulnerable children.