Autism in babies – new research


Baby with autism

Should babies with autism recieve therapy as early as 9 months?

Hell yes!! New exciting research published this week proves that therapy for babies with autism symptoms Ian make all the difference!

Video explaining the new research – babies with early signs of autism

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This video provides an explanation for parents and therapists – explaining the exciting new research that was just published in the @jamanetwork paediatrics journal this week – article here

The study was lead by the one and only Professor Andrew Whitehouse and the teams at:

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Whitehouse explains the research study

Watch the video explains the premise behind the AICES study, what autism is and how intervention can help babies with autism red flags.

An excerpt from the blog post written by the Telethon Kids Institute:

The findings were the first evidence worldwide that a pre-emptive intervention during infancy could lead to such a significant improvement in children’s social development that they then fell below the threshold for a clinical diagnosis of autism.

“No trial of a pre-emptive infant intervention, applied prior to diagnosis, has to date shown such an effect to impact diagnostic outcomes – until now.”–events/news-and-events-nav/2021/september/therapy-with-babies-boosts-social-development/

A few important things to point out

I and the disability sector fully support the viewpoint of neuro-diversity.

This viewpoint highlights that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. Individuals with brain differences or conditions want to (and should) be seen as different, instead of ‘not normal’. So we must be mindful of how the autistic community may feel about this research study. Autism is part of who someone is, and in most or many cases, defines a part of that person. The central premise behind this research is all about identifying, nurturing and celebrating individual differences, and doing everything we can to support individuals to have the highest quality of life possible.

This research relates to late talkers and orher delays and disorders

Although this research study was solely looking at children with red flags of autism (social communication & repetitive-restricted behaviours), the findings can also relate to children with language delays & other developmental conditions. These findings add to the years & years of research that proves that early intervention is critical.

Autism is a neuro-developmental condition

This means that something happens early in development to make the brain develop differently.

Diagnsoing autism – Behaviour and bio-markers for identifying autism

Researchers have found some inconclusive physical signs (biomarkers) that very loosely correlate with an individual having autism (e.g. blood markers, head/brain shapes, facial differences, genetic makers etc). However, these biomarkers are not solely correlated with autism, as we expect in other neurodevelopmental conditions (such as Down syndrome, Rhetts Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy etc). As such, physical signs are not accurate indicators of the presence of autism.

Autism is diagnosed based on the presence of specific behavioural symptoms in the areas of social communication and restricted-repetitive behaviours.

If you need any further support or information about autism in babies, children and adults, have a look at these great resources

More useful links

If you would like to learn more about the research study check out these links:

  • Read full article here
  • Blog post by telethon kids institute – read here


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