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Infants with Autism

New research could be promising for children dealing with autism. The research is looking at whether early intervention could decrease the severity of the disorder. In some cases, doctors say they can spot signs of the disorder in babies who are just days old. And very early play therapy, starting as young as 6 months, could mean a child who otherwise would have been autistic will never fully develop the disorder.

There are warning signs that parents should watch out for. Doctors worry about babies who can t hold eye contact, who are not t babbling and who don t wave or point by the time they re a year old. Also, if babies reach a milestone like babbling and then regress, parents need to investigate.

Though it s a baby step in medical research, it could mean an enormous leap forward for the youngestpatients facing a lifelong diagnosis of autism. Recent estimates put the number of U.S. children with the disorder at one in 110,

Another study published in the February issue of Pediatrics finds that having babies close together may triple the risk of Autism in the second child. The highest risk was seen in babies conceived within a year of their older sibling. Researchers studied the records of 660,000 second-born children born in California between 1992 and 2002. Second-born children conceived within a year of an older sibling's birth were more than three times as likely to have autism than children conceived more than three years apart.Babies conceived within 12 to 23 months had nearly twice the risk of having autism, while babies conceived between 24 and 35 months were 26 percent more likely to have the disorder.

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