November 7, 2013
A new study may detect signs of autism in babies as young as two months by tracking their eye movement.
The Atlanta based study looked at infants from two to six months and used eye-tracking software to mark where their focus was. They then saw the same children at three-years-old and determined that children who did not look at adult faces, but looked more at objects were at a greater risk of developing autism at a later age.
Clinical directors at the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) in Charlottesville say eye contact is very important in social development.
“We make eye contact with each other when we are having conversations,” says Cresse Morrell, Clinical Director at VIA. “We use it to reference other items in our environment to share those experiences with others.”
A lot of students with autism do not use eye contact when speaking and socializing with others.
“We want to be able to teach them to use those skills so they can have those meaningful interactions with peers and adults as well," says Morrell.
VIA serves children as young as two-years-old, but they believe that the results of new study in infants can help provide preventative methods.
“It's a really promising and interesting study that's well done and gives us great results that can help inform us how we can better potentially provide some preventative methods so we can help these children at least gain some better outcomes in the future,” says Morrell.
Currently no intervention help is available to infants from two to six months who could develop autism at a later age. The results from the eye-tracking study can help to better inform researchers on how to possible detect the disorder.
For more on the study you can click on the link below.