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Early Autism Intervention

September 10, 2014

An early intervention for autism shows promise for helping babies who have not yet been diagnosed with the condition.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

78455_web UC Regents 2014

Sally Rogers. (UC Regents)

Parents, babies, and autism. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Infants are too young to be diagnosed with autism, but many show symptoms as early as 6 months.

SALLY ROGERS (University of California, Davis):

Including poor eye contact, repetitive actions with objects…

HIRSHON:

That’s UC, Davis MIND Institute researcher Sally Rogers. She and her team trained parents to respond to their infants’ subtle social cues throughout the day.

ROGERS:

We helped them read the infants’ levels of interest and pleasure in the interaction the parents were offering.

HIRSHON:

She says at first, the babies’ development slowed down in a pattern typical for children later diagnosed with autism.

ROGERS:

But at 18 months, their developmental rate started to accelerate again. So in the treated group of infants, 6 of the 7 showed normal patterns for both verbal and nonverbal development by the age of 3.

HIRSHON:

Rogers cautions that larger studies are needed to validate the intervention’s effectiveness. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.