A simple checklist that will not take more than five minutes will be enough for doctors to detect the earliest signs of autism, a new study conducted at the University of California reveals.
Autism is usually detected late in a child's life, leading to a less effective treatment that would have been possible had the condition been detected earlier. However researchers from University of California suggests that doctors can identify early signs of the conditions by asking simple questions such as the child's use of eye contact, sounds, words and gestures.
The study was conducted on more than 10,000 one-year olds with the researchers asking the parents a number of questions. Of those who underwent the checkups, around 184 babies were unable to successfully pass it, which the led the researchers to refer them to in depth evaluation.
Around 32 babies were provisionally diagnosed with autism while the remaining babies were also found to suffer from various developmental delay problems.
"Given lack of universal screening of infants for such disorders at 12 months, this programme could be adopted by any paediatric office, at virtually no cost, to aid in the identification of children with developmental delays", lead researcher Karen Pierce wrote in the report that has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics.