Earlier intervention and treatment of autism in infants could improve the outcome of the condition and even eliminate symptoms, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that in some cases an autistic child who received therapy within the first six months of their life may no longer exhibit signs of the condition by the age of three, according to a new study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis MIND Institute, looked at seven infants with autism, aged 7 to 15 months that exhibited signs of the condition. The testing involved at 12-week treatment plan with researchers following up with the families over a three-year period.
The treatment sessions included infants learning to integrate toys to aid in communication and help them to improve focus on their parent’s face and voice.
Researchers found that the children diagnosed with autism who exhibited symptoms of the condition at nine months showed less symptoms by the time they were 18 months and 36 months. They also found that the children who underwent the treatment in the first year of their life had fewer language delays, symptoms and general developmental delays.
Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1 percent of the world population and occurs in one in 68 births in the US, according the Center for Disease Control (CDC.) It is the fastest growing developmental disability, growing by nearly 120% between 2000 and 2010.