Earlier autism diagnosis associated with greater trait improvement

Earlier autism diagnosis associated with greater trait improvement

Children who are diagnosed with autism before 2 and a half years of age show greater gains in their social skills , on average, than children who are diagnosed later, according to a new study. Early diagnosis is widely thought to be important because it makes it possible to treat children early, yet there has been little evidence that early treatment benefits autistic children, says lead investigator Ilan Dinstein , associate professor of cognitive and brain sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel. Autistic children who receive early intervention as part of a clinical trial often display promising gains, but those treated in community settings do not typically experience as many benefits , previous studies show. This gap raised a burning question for Dinstein and his colleagues: “Is there a reason to hurry and perform the diagnosis early in situations where intervention is messy, heterogeneous and not delivered by world-renowned experts?” he says. The answer, according to the results Dinstein and his colleagues published in October in Autism , appears to be yes. “I hope that these and related findings will put continued pressure on advisory bodies that produce guidelines, and also on insurers to push […]

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