Early signs of autism may be detected in high-risk children as young as 12 months who exhibit key behaviors associated with the disorder, such as lack of eye contact with parents, problems following an object visually and reduced social smiling. Until recently, parents had to wait until a child was two or three years old before he/she could be assessed for autism. A new research tool can identify these early signs of autism in babies who have a sibling with the disorder. More research is needed to evaluate whether screening is reliable this early in the general population. Earlier detection may lead to earlier intervention and improved outcomes for these children.

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