Signs of Autism Showing Earlier in Some Children

Researchers now believe that they can reliably spot “tells” that a child is autistic as early as 14 months in some children but are still stumped by children who regress from normal to autisic behavior. “Children with autism can be identified as early as 14 months old, the youngest age at which the disorder has been diagnosed, a study by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore suggests.

But about half the time, symptoms may not show up until months later. That suggests at least two distinct paths leading to autism: one that starts early in life and one in which a child seems to develop normally and then regresses, losing language and social skills.

Results of the study, the first to follow toddlers from 14 months until they turn 3, could allow earlier treatment to reduce the effects of autism, says Rebecca Landa, lead author of the report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.”