A new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine focuses on enabling an earlier diagnosis of autism by determining a baby’s response to their name at the age of 12 months. The researchers studied two groups of children; the first group was a control group and contained children who were not at risk for developing autism. The second group was children who had an autistic person in their family. Every single child in the control group were able to pass the test by responding to their name at twelve months; approximately 86% of the children in the second group passed. These children were followed until their second birthday and 75% of them were diagnosed with developmental problems. Of those children who went on to eventually receive an autism diagnosis, half failed the name test at twelve months. An abstract of the article can be viewed here: A Prospective Study of Response to Name in Infants at Risk for Autism
In looking back it was right around that age, twelve months, that my daughter started responding to her name. I’m not sure if it was right before or right after but it did seem much later than my son. My daughter seemed to develop her motor milestones within the range of normal but her language was late to develop. I listened to well-intentioned family and medical personal that she was the second child so would talk later and that everything was fine. I’m still a bit annoyed about the wait and missing out on early intervention services but I know that the only direction to go from here is forward. Having a diagnostic tool like this might have been beneficial in my daughter’s case. Of course this name test isn’t an end-all be-all for diagnosis but just another tool, one of many, that are being discovered to help aide in an early diagnosis of autism.