Autism tends to run in families. As a result, much of what we’ve learned about autism’s earliest signs and symptoms come from studies of infants at high risk for the disorder because they have an older sibling on the autism spectrum. Over the last five years, this avenue of research has become particularly powerful thanks to the collaborative efforts of scientists in Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium. The consortium’s overarching goal is to make discoveries that can improve the effectiveness of early intervention therapies – and so improve lives.
Now these researchers have provided answers to the questions that parents most often ask about their findings.
“Information for Parents of Infants and Toddlers on the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder” contains the most current information about familial risk and the earliest signs of autism. It also includes practical recommendations for parents who may be concerned about their child’s development. Written in lay-friendly language, it’s a resource for parents and for health-care providers to share with families.
“This document comes from 26 of the leading researchers and clinicians studying the very early signs of autism,” says Alycia Halladay, Autism Speaks senior director for environmental and clinical sciences. “It should be used to help inform the community with the ultimate goal of lowering the age of diagnosis of ASD for all children”
The document can be read and downloaded here.