Implications for Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy with Earlier Diagnosis of Autism


New Research:
A study recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found differences in white matter tract development in the  brains of Autistic children as young as 6 months of age.  This study was an international collaborative effort following hundreds of babies over several years. Not only did MRIs reveal this disparity in the white matter, but they also revealed larger head circumference. 

What does this mean? Well for starters they may now be able to diagnose Autism much earlier leading to earlier intervention. Also, the MRI scans may be able to tell us what part of the child’s brain is being affected so that therapy can be tailored accordingly. 

Previously physicians had to rely solely on clinical exam and behavioral reports in order to diagnose Autism. Now we may have data for a more definitive diagnosis leading to better outcomes. 

As for the cause of Autism and a cure? Well, that’s still up in the air. But, researchers feel as though they are getting closer. 

To learn more read a summary of the article, “UW Work Helps Pinpoint Autism Indicator in Infants’ Brains,” via the Seattle Times. 

To read the entire article from the American Journal of Psychiatry, follow this link:
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=668180 

As a therapist, what would these early indicators mean for your practice? 

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