Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Detecting autism earlier

Life Lessons Detecting autism earlier

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

It's five-times more common among boys. That number is 1 in 42.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism twice before age 2.

However, the average age of diagnosis for a child with autism is five-and-a-half. Experts say that's way too late.

Dalton Foreaker's mom, Casey Foreaker, knew something was not right with her young son.

"I remember him not responding to his name when I would call him," says Casey.

Researchers believe that could be one of the first signs.

"They don't pay the same degree of attention to people as they do to objects or the things in the background," says Mark Strauss, PhD, psychologist at the The University of Pittsburgh.

Scientists also look to see which side of an adult's face babies focus on.

Human brains are wired to look to the right. Studies have shown adults with autism don't favor a side.

"If you can identify a child before 3 years of age and start intervention, it can make a huge difference in outcome," says Jill Gilkerson, PhD.

Voice screening can also help.

Pitch quality and rhythm could also indicate if a child has autism.

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