A meticulous diary kept by a mother of twins has revealed indicators of autistic behaviour in children as young as six months of age. The findings are published today in Neurocase.
Mel Rutherford, assistant professor of psychology at McMaster University, says the diary provides a rare and unprecedented opportunity to observe the early development of autism. She says the mother of fraternal twins recorded her observations almost daily for about five years, beginning before the twins’ birth. She charted the children’s development in speech, social interactions, growth, and sleep disturbances, unaware that one twin was autistic until a diagnosis was made at three years of age.
“It appears that children with autism develop normally for six months, and then begin developing atypically,” says Rutherford. “As typical children begin to accelerate in social development, the child with autism makes only minor gains.”
Jane Christmas | EurekAlert!
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