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Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

May 15, 2014

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Toddlers who engage in repetitive and narrowly focused behavior may be showing early signs of autism new research indicates. The conclusion follows an analysis of behavior reports offered by the parents of 184 children between 1 and 2.

All the children were considered to be at high risk for autism, given that an older sibling was already diagnosed with the disorder. The behavior of the high-risk group was then compared with that of a group of 59 low-risk children. By the age of 2, 42 of the children were diagnosed with autism. And repetitive behavior was evident among all of them ranging from telltale hand and arm movements, to a strong preference for specific and limited routines.

In fact, the study authors ultimately concluded that toddlers who engaged in highly repetitive behavior by the age of just 1 went on to face a 4 times greater risk for meeting autism diagnosis criteria by the age of 2.

The researchers said that although some degree of repetitive behavior is expected in healthy early development, significantly elevated repetitive behavior at 12 months of age may be a red flag for autism.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.