Researchers Diagnose Autism In 12-Month-Old Babies

Researchers have tested more than 10,000 babies in China, some as young as 12-months-old, for autism.

AsianScientist (Dec. 19, 2013) – Researchers have tested more than 10,000 babies in China, some as young as 12-months-old, for autism.

Dr. Josephine Barbaro, from the La Trobe University’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Center, is training medical experts around the globe in the use of her diagnostic method on children under two years of age.

Barbaro developed an accurate set of “red flag” markers of the condition, which include a failure by babies to make consistent eye contact, to smile, show their toys to others, to play social games, point and respond when their name is called.

“All typically developing babies are pre-wired to be social, look at other people’s faces, learn from them and copy what they’re doing. Children with autism are not doing this – and we can now accurately identify this at a much younger age and take action,” said Barbaro.

Her team has trained 300 doctors in Melbourne’s sister city Tianjin in China, as part of an Australia-China Science and Research Fund Group Mission.

So far, 10,000 babies aged from 12 to 24 months have been checked using the early autism identification program, and the majority of babies referred for follow via her test have been diagnosed as on the spectrum.

Based on these preliminary findings, the Tianjin government has agreed to conduct autism surveillance using Barbaro’s program for every child born in the city for the next seven years.

The team is also training healthcare workers in Poland, Korea, Japan and Bangladesh.

An estimated 1 in 100 children have an autism spectrum disorder. The lifelong developmental disability is characterized by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and no-verbal communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior.


Source: La Trobe University; Photo: Naomi_Roxas/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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