It is a well-known fact that the earlier a child is diagnosed with autism, the sooner they can get autism treatment that can lead to a fairly normal life. However, autism can be difficult to diagnose before a baby is one or two years old due to the lack of signs. But now, some U.S. researchers are claiming that a sign of autism may be present in the first months of life: a steady decline in attention to other people’s eyes.
In a study led by Warren Jones of the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine, babies were tracked from birth until age three using eye-tracking technology to measure the way they looked and responded to social cues. The infants who were later diagnosed with autism showed declining attention to the eyes of other people beginning at the age of just two months. By following the babies from birth, they were able to collect large amounts of data before symptoms are typically seen.
Parents should not be concerned if their infant doesn’t appear to be looking into their eyes at every moment. Specialized technology was used with the hope being that eventually an even earlier diagnosis will be possible so every child on the autism spectrum can receive early treatment from an autism specialist.