Autism clues begin to emerge closer to 12 months of age

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Limited eye contact and communication abilities, cited as autism symptoms, often are not detectable in an infant's first few months but become more apparent as children reach 1 year of age.

Limited eye contact and communication abilities, cited as autism symptoms, often are not detectable in an infant's first few months but become more apparent as children reach 1 year of age. This is according to research published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Study investigators analyzed 2 groups of children. Half of the participants, considered "high-risk," had a sibling with autism and were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder themselves. The other half, categorized as "low-risk," did not have family members with autism and experienced typical development. Researchers followed the children until the age of 3 years.

At 12 months, the high-risk children experienced a sharp drop in eye contact, smiling, and study-defined social responsiveness, according to researchers. These differences became even more apparent as the children progressed to ages 2 and 3 years.

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