One of the difficulties in screening for autism has been knowing when to start. And what patterns to look for.
Some children arouse suspicion very early on, others develop normally and then suddenly show signs of regression. Some children show signs of mild delays and then inexplicably plateau.
What’s the difference?
A new study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders suggests that each of these patterns indicates a different kind of autism. The study’s authors at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore found that children who exhibited symptoms early on were at lower risk for developing severe cases of the disorder.
From the LA Times Booster Shots blog:
In data collected from 2,720 parents, researchers found children with regression had a distinct increase in the severity of symptoms, such as not attaining conversational speech. The outlook was even worse for children whose parents also said the regression phase was severe.
“Children with developmental plateau are an especially under-researched group, and these findings have important implications for those designing and prioritizing clinical evaluations,” a co-author of the study, Dr. Paul Law, said in a news release.
Data in the study was collected from parents of children ages 3-17 with an autism spectral disorder.
Go here for a comprehensive look at when the symptoms of autism spectral disorder can emerge and what they look like.