The Canadian Press published a report on Thursday about a small study suggesting that tracking infant’s gaze can distinguish between children at high risk for autism and those with lower risk.
The report indicated that, although reliable diagnosis of autism is generally not established until the child is two years old, differences were found between children with an autistic sibling and those with no autistic relatives. As early as 9 months, children at higher risk for the diagnosis (those with an autistic sibling) were less likely than the other children to prefer looking at pictures of faces.
The researchers didn’t think that this would be a reliable way to diagnose autism, although it might be a helpful tool when assessing. They suggest that these early differences between high-risk and lower-risk children challenges theories that autism is linked to vaccinations, which aren’t received until the children are older.